boundary lines in pleasant places


Psalm 16

For Sunday, November 15, 2009
Proper 28
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6).
Where are the boundary lines of your life falling today? I see in my own life how so much of this is framed by the state of my relationship with the Lord. When I truly seek him, prayerfully and faithfully, then despite the hardships that are present, I see God’s redemptive hand powerfully at work.
I see this looking back five years when the mission team I was leading imploded without warning. The conflict was so deep that our own teammates asked us not to return to Siberia where we were serving. As I’ve shared with friends subsequently, I’d like to write a book about it entitled _Exiled From Siberia_. This remains the most painful experience I’ve ever gone through, more painful than my Dad’s death 3 years ago, and even more painful even than presently watching my one and only younger brother waging a life and death struggle with cancer while simultaneously watching my Mom wrestle with a debilitating mental illness. By the end of this year it is likely that I’ll be the only functioning member of my family of origin left standing.
Yet despite all of this I can say that the boundary lines for me are falling in pleasant places. Had we not been exiled from Siberia I would not have had four precious years with my Dad before his death. I would not have been there holding his hand and looking into his eyes as he passed, which was a direct answer to prayer. My three boys, the oldest of which is now 13, would not have really ever known their Grandpa.
My Father is using the pain of being exiled from Siberia, the pain of losing my Dad, and the present pain of walking with both my brother and Mom through profound illness, to shape my soul for his purpose. It is a purpose that includes being a resource to other missionaries who have or are going through team conflicts, something that is remarkably common on the field. It is a purpose that includes a continuing ministry to Russian-speaking people both locally an internationally. It is also a purpose that is now leading toward a ministry to urban churches and leaders right here in Milwaukee.
When we were preparing to go to Russia fellow Christians would ask us, “Why are you going all the way there? Aren’t there enough problems here?” The Lord gave me a great answer: “Yes, there are profound problems here, and that’s why you’re here.” Well, … now I’m here, and in fact, some of the social dynamics we experienced in Russia, particularly in regards to both human servitude and fatherlessness, are clear and present dynamics which we can now help to address.
Our gracious Father intends for the boundary lines of each of our lives to fall in pleasant places. This doesn’t mean that within those boundaries there won’t be some deep chasms. Yet what the enemy intends for evil God will certainly transform into good. Christ’s resurrection at Calvary is both the downpayment and security on this divine promise.
Will you today along with me entrust our Father with the boundary lines of our lives? When we truly yield ourselves to God’s plan and purpose profound blessing is the inevitable result.
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