In Christian circles, there are some clichés that are like punches to my gut.
“Let go and let God!” is at the top of my Please Don’t Say That List. I’d rather hear you quote the worry verses (Matthew 6:27) before “Let go and let God” crosses your lips.
Another tired expression that is borderline annoying, but probably more biblically grounded, is “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” People who say that usually don’t know what else to say, and I’d bet their intentions are generally good. So although not my favorite, I can stomach this one far better than “Let go…” (I can’t even bring myself to put it in black and white again).
So does God operate within boundaries, keeping a pile of she-can’t-handle-that scenarios over in the corner?
The Bible is clear that our God has the right to govern our universe as He pleases (Psalm 115:3). He stirs hearts and moves people to action (Ezra 1:1). He institutes our earthly authorities (Romans 13:1-2). He makes possible what humans consider impossible (Matthew 19:26).
That doesn’t seem like a God of boundaries.
But over in the book of Job, God is approached by Satan after he’s been roaming the earth (scary, isn’t he?), and gives him permission to test Job. God is very clear, however, on what the adversary is allowed to do, and what he may not do, in his approach. “Everything he has is in your hands,” God says, “but on the man himself don’t lay a finger” (Job 1:12).
Restrictions. God is giving Satan his limitations on how he can deal with Job. He sees the opportunity for Job to have his faith strengthened, but He will authorize the test only under the condition of protection. His boundaries are protective of His children.
God expects us to operate within boundaries, too. Unfortunately to a lot of people, those limitations are perceived as a never-ending list of “do nots” that make a believer’s life boring, and well, restricted.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to embrace God’s boundaries for me, knowing He’s simultaneously confining the devil for my protection.
Let’s be glad that the devil is operating within God’s boundaries, and not the other way around!