Monday, May 13, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Fenced In

Don’t Fence Me In
A devotional by Amanda Wen

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” –Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

When I was about eight years old, my family adopted a chinchilla named Herbie. Chinchillas, if you’re not familiar, are some of the most adorable little creatures you’ll ever meet. Usually a silvery gray, they have the body of a small rabbit, the ears and tail of a squirrel, and the thickest, softest fur imaginable.

Chinchillas are known for their active and inquisitive nature. Although they spend most of the time in large cages, these adorable little fluffballs do best when allowed some free roaming time to investigate and explore. However, being rodents, chinchillas also chew. On everything. All the time.

In an effort to both keep Herbie safe from chewing on something she shouldn’t, and to keep at least some of our stuff free from chinchilla-tooth autographs, my dad constructed a wooden barrier to keep her hemmed in during her explorations. My dad is quite the handyman, and this was a serious, well-crafted fence, complete with hinges, finished edges, and protective varnish.

However, we had woefully underestimated our new pet’s jumping capabilities. The first time we tried it, Herbie bounced straight for it, effortlessly leaped on top of it, and gave us a twinkly-eyed chinchilla-grin before hopping down to the outside of the barrier, free to roam to her little heart’s content.


I laugh at this story, but I also find it convicting, because I know I tend to do that with God sometimes. “Okay, God,” I tell Him. “Here are the parts of my life I’m willing to give You. Here are my plans, my goals, my dreams, and my schedule, all within this nice little fence I’ve constructed for You. As long as You stay within that, all is well.”

But an infinite God cannot be contained by my pathetic attempts to box Him in. His ways are higher, and His plans are greater. He who created the universe from nothing, who causes the sun to rise and set, who has numbered the days of our lives and the hairs on our head, He who sent His very own Son to redeem us all…Do I really think I know better than He does when it comes to what my life should look like? Do I really think, even with my active imagination, that the plans I come up with are better than His?

As a certified, card-carrying control freak, letting God have control of my life scares me. I don’t like not knowing what’s ahead. I don’t enjoy the feeling of not being in charge. But looking back on my life and remembering all the times He’s been faithful, all the times I can agree with Him that His plans were indeed better, even though at the time I would’ve chosen mine, helps keep me secure in the knowledge that His plans are indeed best.

Fellow believers, we have a choice. We can try to contain God, to erect silly boundaries that He is more than capable of leaping over…or we can allow our Loving Father to have free reign in our lives, knowing that everything He does is for our ultimate good—though not always our temporary good—because He is good.

I pray we will always choose the latter.

Author Bio:
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. 

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

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