God’s Use of Limitations

I’m in the middle on a horticultural experiment at my home. It might be more rightly called a lackadaisical attitude concerning gardening. I like plants; I don’t like tending them. I’m not sure I’d even dust silk ones. If an inventor created affordable, authentic looking, dust repelling, fade resisting plant replicas then I would probably buy them. But I digress. Outside my back porch railing is a wild rose bush. I allow it to grow, wildly that is. The growth of this rosy beast is impressive as it weaves onto the lattice of my porch railing. One of the great stalks has split into a beautiful three headed green dragon-esque shoot worthy of being cast in the next DreamWorks animation. The weather has been great for growing these mighty tendrils. However, these leafy verdantly vibrant vines are missing a critical element: rose buds. In its effort to reach the second story of our porch it exhausted its resources on infrastructure having nothing left for the beautification. And therein lies my proverb, “limitation allows one to flourish.” The not-so-secret art of rose tending is to prune. I think the not-so-secret art of life is quite similar.

https://i1.wp.com/ecology.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/earthat-a-glance1.jpgWhen we speak of God and his attributes we undoubtedly begin with his immeasurable qualities: omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal. But in the Bible God often reveals himself through his work of limitation and boundaries. The creation fiat is basically God’s imposition of limits. Eternity now includes time. Time is measured by day and night. The earth is the epitome of boundaries with firmament, land and sea. Before the creation of the things populating the earth God begins with the rules and the boundaries. In order for all things to flourish in symbiosis boundaries and limits must be imposed.

And God continues to use limit as a way of expression for himself and of his followers. God often appears veiled in clouds. The ultimate appearing of the all-powerful deity is within the limitations of our human frailty as Jesus. And for us his followers the imposition of limitation is the very gateway to our destination in a closer walk with God. Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge. Don’t work every day. Live within moral, ethical, and spiritual boundaries. The very word “holy” simply means “to set apart” or more directly, “be different” and God declares, “be holy as I am holy.”

Have you ever thought of the power of limits in one’s ability to flourish? Procrastination reminds us we have a deadline. The patient given terminal news makes the most of the days left. God asks us to prune in order that we flourish. The farmer limits a field to one crop for a better harvest. My neighbors do not admire my thorny bud-less vines. So maybe it’s time to recognize the God who beautifies within boundaries. Monogamy, work/Sabbath, extracurricular activities, media, clutter, etc. Live vibrantly in moderation. So then, where is God asking you to prune and in so doing find yourself full?

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