Learning the Limits

Children are precious.  They smile and laugh.  They run and play.  Best of all, though, they understand with the mind of a child and see through the eyes of a child.  Everything is more amazing and more full.  Wonder is really wonderful.  Joy is really joyful.  Color is really colorful.  And on the other side of the coin, distress is really distressful.

As they grow, children begin to learn their limits.  There are physical limits.  They are just so tall.  They are just so fast.  There are other limits, too.  We call them rules.  Mom will let children take just so many cookies from the cookie jar.  They have to ask, and they have to say, “Please.”  The cookies are really “cookieful” when the rules are followed, but failure to use the magic word means no cookies, and violating the cookie limit can have even more serious consequences.

We are God’s children on a pilgrim journey to the foot of the cross.  Our prayers should be really prayerful.  Our thoughts should be really thoughtful.  And grace?  It comes from God, and it is truly “grace full.”

We need to learn our limits, too.  God created the Garden of Eden and gave mankind access to everything except for one tree.  There was one limit.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was off limits.  The garden is gone, as is the tree.  But we still have limits.  How can we know them?  Through study of the scripture and through personal, prayerful communion with God.

William Walford was a blind lay preacher in the 19th century.  He had a reputation of knowing the entire Bible by heart.  His extensive memory for scripture was not enough, though.  To really know God and God’s will, he knew that a Christian must pray.

Walford’s hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” reflects both the joy and the protection that Christians have through a disciplined life of prayer.  Reflect on the words of his first verse:

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father’s throne
make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
my soul has often found relief,
and oft escaped the tempter’s snare
by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Answer the call to prayerful time with God along your journey today.  When you have finished, know the full life that God has for you, and the dutiful service that has been prepared for you.  May your wonder be wonderful, your joy be joyful, and your pilgrim journey grace full.

Follow the Path!

[Use with The Forbidden Fruit, day 7 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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