Stop lookin’ at the fence!
There are times when a fence is necessary. And there are times when a fence stands in your way.
When I was 12 or 13, my parents and I went to New York City. And, of course, we went to the top of the Empire State Building. As I stepped up to check out the view, I had a chance to assess the barrier that protected visitors from a deadly fall:1. Concrete blocks around as a base — tall enough that young children had to be lifted up to see anything.
2. Above the base, a large, diamond link fence created a mid-section and offered the amazing view.
3. Barbed wire curved back overhead to prevent any nonsense.
I’m lookin’ at the fence.
Mom and I neared the edge, and I just kept staring at the barrier. I wanted to absorb every detail of this place I’d always dreamed of visiting. Mom looked out and asked, “What do you think?”
I didn’t respond.
She saw me gazing up at the barbed wire. “What are you doing?”
“I’m looking at the fence.”
Well, I’m sure I got a lecture on how we were up there to look OUT – not UP. On how we had paid good money to see the view and not concrete blocks and barbed wire. Well, we certainly didn’t have to come all the way to NYC for that. They were abundant back home.
Honestly, that’s not what stuck in my head.
Stop lookin’ at the fence.
What I do remember VIVIDLY was the instant when I changed my focus. The fence faded and the skyline emerged.
For a girl whose hometown’s tallest building was either the 4-story hotel downtown or the local grain elevator, the endless spires and roofs below me were breath-taking.
But I had to change my focus to see any of it.
Oh, look — another fence.
twenty… um, thirty?… or more years, and I encountered another kind of fence. This one separated me from both JOY and my greater purpose/mission from God.
It started out as maybe just a spiritual speedbump set before me by the enemy. But the more I looked at it and the more I thought about it, the taller it got. I scraped my shins on it a few times. And then my knees. Soon it was waist-high.
Each time it took more effort to climb over. And, simultaneously, the chain links morphed into cement blocks.
One day I could neither climb over it or see through it. And the tragic thing was that I barely noticed. I had stopped looking for anything on that far side of the fence long before that day.
All I could see was the fence.
Oh, I had not only become blind to the fence, but I’d grown comfortable with it being there. I decorated it, and leaned on it, and reinforced it, and added barbed wire on top. I took for granted that it was a permanent part of my life.
I stopped attending church and reading my Bible and praying — any of which would have helped weaken the enemy’s fence around me.
The worst part was that I forgot what was on the other side. I forgot that God is my refuge and strength. That He has a plan for my life. And that I have value.
The Creator gave me a Two-by-Four — to the Head
I am a Child of God.
That was it. A simple fact. But it had slipped my mind, and the enemy had moved into construction mode around me.
Wham! It hit me between the eyes: I am a Child of God, and I am not in this alone.
Wham!! With His near-silent whisper, God knocked the fence down flat.
I may have some rubble to crawl over, but I’m on my way out. And I can see the view once more.
‘Cause I’m not lookin’ at the fence…
Dear Reader, just remember: You, too, are a child of God. You are not in this alone. You have value and a greater purpose. I’m praying you can see both clearly today.