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Enlarged not Confined

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”- 1 Chronicles 4:10

As I was taking a daily walk on my preferred route, I noticed something distinctly different. As I reached the large dirt path loop around the perimeter of our neighborhood park, I was surprised by how much more spacious it seemed. To my sight, the once small path had been enlarged overnight! Despite this optical illusion, I finally discovered what had changed. Due to COVID-19, the large field area was now fenced off. Where the pathway used to blend in with and be swallowed up by the larger field, the fence created a boundary in which the pathway had greater definition and dimension. The closed field created a highlighted and widened path! In 2 Samuel 22:37 David thanks the Lord, “You provide a broad path for my feet…”.

Our current “shelter in place” social distancing order has people feeling trapped and battling serious bouts of cabin fever. People are missing beautiful outdoor venues and regular social and gathering opportunities. People are struggling to stay focused and motivated to do their job from home or wondering how to pay bills with work slowdowns. People are battling with loved ones in the house who are testing their patience and infringing on their peace and quiet.

Despite the current, confined living conditions, I want us to have a sense that God is providing us with more room, space, and freedom than ever before. Not unlike the dirt path at my local park, God is enlarging the area before us with opportunity, blessing, and life! In Psalm 16:6 David again celebrates what God is doing by declaring, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Before pouting about being in one place, consider the opportunities that are before us:

1) An opportunity to SEEK GOD- The lack of travel, activities, and schedules provides us with the gift of time. Consider connecting with God to get the most out of each day. Read a few chapters in the Bible, find a quiet place to pray or journal, turn on some worship music to have your own celebration service.

2) An opportunity to SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY- If you are like me, this is an area that you have been looking to improve. Take advantage of togetherness by sitting at the dinner table for meals, playing a board game, helping the kids with their online schoolwork, or taking a walk.

3) An opportunity to SLOW DOWN- This pandemic has brought a forced reminder to the beautiful God blessing of resting! We need to slow down from always being busy and entertained, from our anxious thought life and our insecure feeling of needing to be useful. Sit down, breathe, and receive peace from above.

4) An opportunity to SET GOALS- This may be the right time to begin working on that project at home, to establish an exercise routine, to enjoy a new hobby, finish a book you’ve been wanting to read, to find out what is actually in your garage and/or closet.

Let’s not allow being in a small space, in one place to diminish the big things God can do in our midst and has prepared for our path. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Let us also continue to pray for His grace and peace to meet all those suffering and struggling because of this pandemic. Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace and mercy in the midst of these challenging days. You are hearing our cry and You are answering. Amen and Hallelujah!

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