I am visiting my mother-in-law in Brunswick, North Carolina. She is in her 70s and doesn’t have a fenced in backyard, so Megan, her dog, gets very little exercise. I decided I would take her on a long walk this morning. I though she would enjoy getting outside for a change. So, I found her leash and off we went.
Brunswick is very small. It is made up of a few short streets so we walked several laps around trying to get a two mile walk in before breakfast. Most of the roads are neighborhood streets, with virtually no traffic; however, there is one road that is busy in the summertime with beach traffic. We were strolling along on that particular road when the leash went limp. I looked down in utter panic. Megan had pulled out of her collar and was running away from me down the side of the busy road. Cars were coming and going each direction. All I could think of was having to explain to my mother-in-law how her dog got run over by a car. I think I would have walked all the way to Atlanta before having to face her with such news. I ran after her, screaming her name, trying to prevent her from running into danger and getting run over.
After running for two blocks, Megan finally stopped outside of the post office. I knew if I reached out to her, she would take off running again, so I opened the door to the post office hoping she would run inside and then I could get the collar back on her. Now before you think I’ve lost my mind, the post office in Brunswick is about the size of a walk-in closet and no one was inside.
Instead of going into the post office, Megan looked at me and then collapsed in the grass. She had run farther in those few minutes than in her entire life and she was exhausted. I was able to get her collar back on her. Needless to say, I made sure it was tight enough she could not pull out of it again. Only then did I feel my heart beating again. Why would she leave the safety of a pleasant walk to run into danger head on?
As we began the walk back to the house, I realized we do the same thing to God. Some people see God’s laws as restricting them, preventing them from freedom. However, God loves us more than His own life [John 3:16]. He wants us to enjoy life to the full [John 10:10]. True freedom comes from living within the boundaries He sets for us. He calls us to follow the Word to protect us from danger and possibly death [Psalm 12:7, Psalm 40:11]. He knows what harm can come to us if we live life alone without His guidance and direction.
My purpose in taking Megan for a walk was to give her the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and to explore. I didn’t restrict her on the leash to prevent her from having fun. I restricted her to the leash to prevent her from walking into danger. While she was on the leash, she was free to walk or run or explore without the danger of getting run over. When we stay within the boundaries the Lord provides for us, we are free and safe at the same time. God knows everything out there and how to help us stay on the straight path. Trust in Him and you won’t get hurt [Proverbs 3:5-6].