Our Creator Sets Limits

It’s an honor to have Pat Luffman Rowland guest-posting this week. I’ve long been a fan of Pat’s writing, and you may have seen the link to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, in the sidebar. Many of her posts have caught my attention and imagination, but this is one post that I asked if she would share with us. It’s brief, but powerful, and it sets in place a parallel to our lives.

Pat writes:

Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”? Job 38:8-11 (NIV)

The ocean is my favorite part of nature. I love to watch the rhythmic movement of the waves, hear the sound of them rolling into shore or crashing on rocks.

The waters have a vastness that seems wild and free, yet it is restrained by God’s command, the boundaries He set.

How can I trust that God’s boundaries for the ocean will hold?

How can I walk by the edge of the water, and not be afraid that a boundary will give way and I will be swallowed up?

It is by faith in the One who created the seas and determined how deep and wide they would be, by faith in the One who spoke that they might come so far and no farther.

Such is how we must trust God with the problems and perils of our lives. Sometimes it seems trials go on forever, pile one upon another. We begin to ask if God has forgotten us when relief is slow to come.

It helps to think of the ocean and how God has it in control. Just as He limits the oceans’ reach, He limits how much His children go through. We don’t always understand our tribulations, but God has said He uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

We must place our trust in that word from God. We must trust that the same One who created the boundaries for the seas, created limits for how much happens to us. We must trust that all will have its place in forming us for eternal life.

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The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:27 (NIV)

A little about Pat.

Pat Luffman Rowland1Pat Luffman Rowland doesn’t recall a time she didn’t believe in God or know that Jesus was His Son and our Savior, but she made her profession of faith and was baptized at age twelve. She will never forget the experience of understanding she belonged to the Lord! The sun became ten times brighter and it was as if she could hear angels sing—a supremely joyful moment.

Pat has an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Consumer Relations, a master’s in Religious Studies, and worked for twenty-seven years in healthcare. She’s retired and lives in a suburb of Memphis with her two cats. Her daughter, Kristi, and son-in-law, Mark, reside in Georgia and are the delights of her heart.

Pat is active in her church, First Assembly of Memphis, and the church school, First Assembly Christian School. A writer, in addition to her blog, Prayerful Pondering, her work has appeared in devotional publications including The Upper Room, United Methodist Reporter, and Presbyterian Daily.

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Sally’s note~  Thank you, Pat, for sharing your blog post with us. I’m thrilled to have you as a guest and hope you will bless us with your wisdom again soon.

Have you sometimes felt slammed by wave after wave of things happening that just don’t seem to quit? You felt your prayers weren’t heard, that you wouldn’t survive? And just as you were about to “go under,” by faith, you prayed once more and dug in your heels.

And now, in retrospect, something changed, things eased and were somehow resolved.

Did the Lord perhaps impose limits, boundaries for you?

We are beloved. The Lord walks with us through it all.

Are you a survivor, thankful for His gracious limitations?

Pat and I would love for you to leave a comment on how God has set limits in your life.

Blessings!

Sally

Peace Seekers

How about a post to warm you up and to turn your thoughts toward peace this cold December week? Most of us have so much to be thankful for, including warmth and peace. But maybe you’re edgy today.

Want to go boating with me? —well, maybe just curling up with a cup of something warm and tagging along in your imagination for a few minutes would be saner.

Does the stress of life sometimes send you searching for a little peace of mind and heart?

My husband and I needed a break. Time away.

A near-perfect day. Springtime, warm, early morning. I stuffed a cooler with water bottles, soft drinks, thick sandwiches, chips, and cookies while my husband loaded the car and boat with our gear. It had been a stressful couple of weeks, and I prayed that we’d truly relax and enjoy this time we’d carved out for some recreation. The coastline was beautiful as we drove to the inlet and launched the boat from a ramp near the south jetty. From there, we glided past buoys and markers, into the mouth of the inlet, and out into the Atlantic.

Jerry wanted to do some fishing, and I couldn’t wait to relax and soak up some fresh air and sunshine. As we moved farther away from Sebastian Inlet, and with the shoreline no longer in view, he idled down the purring engine, slowing the boat. I settled myself face down on the bow of the boat and let the warm breeze feather over me as I watched the water slide by. The face of the ocean was unusually smooth and mirrored huge fluffy clouds, more like the clouds of June than those of early April. I pushed close to the rail and watched the light swells of the sea, mesmerized.

“Hey, Sal, check that out!” Jerry pointed starboard across the water. I sat up and followed his gaze, not yet seeing what he saw.

But seconds later, we had company. Right beside the boat. Right beside me!

Dolphins! I could have touched them as they played in the foamy wake from the bow as we cut through the blue salt water. Satiny gray, arching, sounding, seeming to study me as much as I studied them. Three or four of them stayed with the boat maybe five minutes before Jerry cut the engine. We drifted, watching them until they disappeared beneath the azure waters, only to burst upward again, airborne, glistening in the sun a few yards away for more fun minutes of play—or maybe feeding.

Then, except for the gentle lapping of water against the sides of the boat, peaceful silence dropped around us. No breeze, no gulls, no splashes, only tranquil quietness, a calm in the midst of a blue sea that blended into the lighter blue of the sky from horizon to horizon.

Jerry sat in the stern, baiting a hook, rapt in his thoughts, and I melted into that silence, laying back on the bow letting praise and thankfulness rise, and body, mind, soul, and spirit bask in God’s precious gift of peace. Sweet, healing peace.

True Peace cannot be found apart from God. He offers us the gift of His Peace in the wondrous mysterious truth of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—sometimes through the crystalline purity of silence, sometimes through the beauty of His creation—always through His countless, limitless ways.

“This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is that Leviathan which You have made to play there” (Psalm 104:26).

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

What do you do when you when you’re looking for a little Peace?

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace”

(Isaiah 9:6).

A Baby is coming! So open your heart

Get ready with joy for the season to start

Stand aside for the angels, listen for their song

Let their melody fill you with praise all day long

Peace

Love,

Sally