The American West, with it’s cowboys, horses, and lots of space between mountain ranges captures the imagination and spirit like no other place. Songs like “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Home on the Range” speak to our love of adventrue, freedom, and space to breathe. People come from all over the world just to see and experience it.
Oh, you city folk can have the steel and bright lights. The cultural events and pace may be fun once in awhile, but over time, I jsut feel hemmed in and constricted, frantic even. When we lived in Tucson, I enjoyed many of those opportunities but longed for space. We often found ourselves visiting my parents to get away from the city and take a drive.
Psalms 18:19 speaks of the Lord rescuing from destruction and bringing me out into a spacious place. I thank him for doing that both physically and relationally. On days when I’m tired and frazzled, my spirit lifts the moment I step outside or look up from the work and consider the hills where my help comes from. (Psalm 121).
Pastures need to be rotated and used properly so the grass will grow back every year, even healthier than before. After time, even years, or poor decisions, it takes lots of money, “yellow paint” (that means heavy equipment since Cats are painted yellow…) and effort to restore those areas. And, after all that work, you still find yourself waiting on God and praying for rain. So it is in our own lives and relationships.
Invasive weeds and brush can choke out grass. So legalism and unwillingness to extend the benefit of the doubt, grace, can choke our relationships.
Breeding our cattle so the calves are closely grouped in age, size, and eve color brings more money at the sale barn. More uniformity ends up in a better product and you know what to expect on your table. Customers may want the “adventure” of the American West but not with their steaks. Is that really what God had in mind for humankind? Even those of us who look alike are different inside. That’s really the adventure part – at a walk or a gallop.
Ponder this thought – perhaps our relationships are meant to be wide and spacious too, full of grace and love, not constrained by legalism or expectations that someone will do things my way or only one way. Certainly, there are some rules if you will, but God gave us 10 and we can’t even keep those well. Who are we to make up more and expect others to keep them? Why do we work so hard, and prefer the checklist of legalism and works, rather than accepting the simplicity of salvation and then enjoying the space of his grace to live? The way to God may be narrow and straight, but His love and His heart are not.
Let’s enjoy those wide open space wherever they find us, wether on the range or with each other. “Home, home on the range…..”. BTW, checkout the last verse of that song.