What child doesn’t like a good playground?
Imagine with me the best playground in the world in a bustling city, and what life is like for the children who happily play there.
Everywhere we look we see lots of potential for loads of fun. And the exuberant voices we hear mixed with intermittent shouts of glee and laughter confirm it. Among the many attractions, in one area we see children showing off their strength by swinging and swaying to cross the monkey bars. In another we see children climbing through a fun maze of platforms, ladders, and tubes, sticking their heads through weird shaped openings to shout down words of fun to a playmate or loving parent before finally exiting through an exhilarating, curving tube slide.
By now we’re smiling big as we feel their joy and our eyes drift to the ageless sandbox where younger children are happily digging in the sand, filling their buckets as they discover and conquer the world of dexterity with a shovel and bucket, while others are building imaginary worlds by using their imaginations to build roadways with giant Legos, toy trucks and earthmovers, and any other convenient twig or whatnot they can lay their hands on.
Then voices of anger or tears pierce the air when we see that some children have gotten in each other’s way or hurt themselves while exuberantly playing. But peace is soon restored to the playground as we spy ever watchful (and wise) attendants quickly put everything right again, and all the children return to their play.
Now let’s take this opportunity to step further back so we can see the playground as a whole. We’re now able to see the playground has a fence around it, with a gate so the children are free to come and go as they like.
So do we see the fence as a restrictive barrier that keeps the children from having fun? Or do we see it as a protective barrier that can keep the children from wandering out and meeting one of the many dangers that face the unwary in a bustling city, while also keeping outside riffraff and dangers from entering and ruining the atmosphere of innocent pleasures and joys of their young lives?
Do you see it? That’s just like what God did for us.
He’s given us lives that can be full of good times, innocent pleasures and hope, but He also knows the world we live in contains many dangers that can ruin and steal it from us. Out of love He then designed a type of “fence”, or rules (as we call it). Not designed to keep us from enjoying life as some think, but to keep us from inadvertently wandering into the path of one of life’s many dangers, and to keep the spiritual riffraff from entering our lives, spoiling and contaminating the goodness found in God’s protective space. And let’s not forget the faithful attendants he’s given us! They are found in His Word and through the wise spiritual counsel of others when life gets tough, and to teach us about the pit.
I love that analogy, don’t you?
Something to ponder:
Is God truly a spoilsport as some see Him? Or is He a life enricher?
“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
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1. Header photo from beautifulchaos.sg blog; March 9, 2015
2. Second photo from oaklandjournal.com; August 1, 2012 article