The first time anyone ever trusted me to babysit was my sister asking me to watch her first born son, Trey. I was a senior in high school, and spending time with my three-year-old nephew who was like a younger brother to me sounded like fun. I mean, how hard could babysitting really be?
(If you have ever babysat, you know what an awesome responsibility that is. You probably also know that if you are not careful and don’t foresee dangerous situations, things can go terribly wrong. I now know that.)
Outside the lines
I decided that Trey and I would play soccer in the front yard. He just started playing soccer on a team and was trying to learn basic skills and things like how to stay in the boundary lines. “Uncle Tripp” was going to show him a few pointers. Well, Uncle Tripp was no better at soccer than three-year-old Trey, so we found ourselves kicking the ball in the road more times than not. Living at the top of a small hill, the ball would hit the road and quickly head towards a storm drain at the bottom of the hill. Every time we kicked the ball into the road, I would tell Trey to stay put while I raced the ball to the bottom of the hill.
This day was hot and we had both worked up a pretty good sweat kicking (and chasing) this soccer ball. I thought I’d be a good uncle and run into the house to get us something to drink. I gave Trey some boundaries and told not to cross the boundary.
It’s OK to leave a kid in the yard by himself briefly, right? What could possibly happen in just a few brief moments? I gave him boundaries!
I ran up the steps, ran inside the house, and got us something to drink. As I headed back out, I walked by a big picture window in the living room that faced the front yard. Passing this window, I saw that Trey had kicked the ball and it went into the street and started rolling down the hill.
Trey had obviously seen me run across the road and he had seen me chase the ball to the storm drain. To my horror, I saw him take off running into the street to get the ball.
Because of my vantage point in this window looking down, I could not only see Trey running into the road, but I could also see around the curve, and that there was a car coming up the street.
Screaming through the window
In that moment, I freeze. In that moment, I’m looking out at a life that I love even more than my own life. I’m looking out at someone that I would literally give anything for, that I would die for. I see him running into the street and I know that from his vantage point, he couldn’t see down the road. He couldn’t see around the curve. From his vantage point, he couldn’t see the danger that was coming. In that moment, I’m frozen and my worst fears rush to mind.
“He doesn’t even see what’s about to happen.”
“He doesn’t even see that this car’s coming.”
“What if this car doesn’t see him?”
“What if they don’t slow down?”
“How is this going to play out!?”
In that moment, I wasn’t thinking of how upset I was at Trey for crossing the boundary. I was not worried about him getting in trouble for disobeying. All I’m thinking is, “I want the best for him. I would rather it be me in the middle of the road in front of this oncoming car than him. I would do anything if I could just trade places right now with where he is and take whatever it is that’s about to happen.” I began to helplessly scream through the window.
Fortunately, that car saw him and stopped, and he was able to get the ball and everything was okay. But I will never forget that moment when my heart almost stopped. I will never forget looking out that big window and seeing what was about to happen.
Love in boundaries
I think this is a picture of how God reacts to his children.
I think sometimes God looks at us and he says, “Hey, I want the very best for you. Know that I love you and would give anything for you. In fact, I did give everything for you when I came and died for you and I took what you deserved on myself so that you could live.” As we live life, I imagine there are so many times that God sees what is ahead and screams at us like I was screaming through that window to my nephew, “Stop! Don’t do it! Slow down! Think! Look!” I think this is the heart of God as we begin to violate the boundaries he has established for living life well.
I established boundaries for my nephew because I love him. As a parent, I establish boundaries for my kids because I love them. I know what is on the other side of those boundaries because I have a perspective on life that my kids don’t have. The boundaries don’t exist to spoil their fun. The boundaries exist to give them life!
From his vantage point, God can see things we can’t see.
That’s why, in his Word, God gives us instructions on things like sexuality. It’s not because he’s trying to spoil our party or fun. He’s saying, “I see down the road, what this can lead to. I see the consequences of taking something great, and going outside the lines with it. I want the best for you, so stop and look around.” When it comes to relationships, when it comes to how we take care of ourselves, when it comes to how we live our lives, God wants the very, very best for us.
You have an all-loving God that is saying, “My child, I love you. Trust me, put your eyes on me and let me give you my very best for your life.”
Consider the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 84:11,
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
Do we trust God to do this as we honor him??
If we didn’t have boundaries in basketball, football, or baseball, how would that work out? It would ruin the game. The boundaries don’t exist to spoil the fun of the game…the boundaries exist so that the game can be played the way it was made to be played. No boundaries lead to chaos. The same is true in life.
King Solomon, the wisest person to ever live said,
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” – Proverbs 22:3
God is not big on rules; God is big on life. Any boundary he gives is for our good. Remember the words of John 10:10,
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Today, evaluate the following:
- In what ways are you living outside of God’s boundaries?
- Do you trust that God is for you and not against you?
- Do you believe that the author of life is the authority on life?
Remember, any boundary God gives is for YOUR GOOD & HIS GLORY because He loves you & wants HIS VERY BEST for you. No one is more for you than God!
Any boundary God gives is for YOUR GOOD & HIS GLORY because He loves you & wants HIS VERY BEST for you. No one is more for you than God!
Today, enjoy the abundant life that is possible through active obedience to the One who loves you enough to give you boundaries.
*For more of Trey’s story, check out this highly emotional clip.
This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students.
To access the podcasts of this devotional and the entire series, click here.
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