When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
What happens when our boundaries are breached? People get into our territories and create inconvenience, chaos, or hurt. It’s like a house invaded by ants or a single pesky fly that always seems to find right where we are and buzzes around us but never seems to be quite within our reach.
When something doesn’t belong where we think it belongs, we don’t like it. We get annoyed. We might try to ignore it for a while, but at some point, we just can’t take it anymore. It draws our focus, and we strike with a vengeance. We will show it who is boss. We’ll rid our lives of what doesn’t belong.
While there are definitely some things in our lives that don’t belong and God intends for us to get rid of them, there are other times we assess something as not belonging simply because we don’t like it. It doesn’t fit into what we view as the picture of what our lives should be, and if it doesn’t fit, we decide to get it out.
But everything we decide doesn’t belong doesn’t necessarily not belong. It’s only when God says something doesn’t belong that it really doesn’t belong. We take action because God says, not because we say. When we weed out what’s supposed to be in our lives for a season and purpose, we miss out.
When God directs us to deal with a difficult person or issue, He usually has a blessing attached. We might not always recognize it. We certainly won’t always acknowledge it. But it’s there, because God blesses our obedience. We can learn something from everything and everyone around us. There’s always something to learn, not just what to do but what not to do, not just who to become but who not to become.
God doesn’t protect us from everything that’s inconvenient, chaotic, or hurtful. Blessings aren’t just the things that go well. Our most loving, growing relationships aren’t the ones we always enjoy the most. God doesn’t build a fence around a beautiful pasture and say, “Here you go. Live here. I’ve given you everything you need. All you have to do is stay in these boundaries and enjoy life.” That was the garden of Eden. We don’t get to live in, or even access, it anymore.
We live in a messy world with messy people, including ourselves. We don’t belong in this world; we belong in eternal heaven. But this world is part of the journey. God has a plan for us here on earth, including the mess. When we mishandle those people and situations we believe don’t belong, we forget we don’t belong either. Yet God continues to love us. He continues to provide for and invest in us. He continues to sift through the things of the world and use the details of our lives for His purpose.
Not everything or everyone fits, including you. And many things and people fit in ways you can’t imagine because you don’t see the reality of the shape and size of each piece of the puzzle. See it God’s way by trusting Him. He knows what He’s doing. He knows the territory, and He covers every inch.
Dear God, change my perspective. Replace my vision with Yours. Consume my desires with Yours. Refine my life with the people and the circumstances You allow into it.