Gates and Fences.

         “Seems that the only life I have is inside these gates.”

The poor soul. Or maybe not.

In this place you can’t enter or exit through the sturdy black iron gate without permission. There are unforgettable consequences awaiting those who try. Aside from hopping over the gate or its adjoining fence, there’s no easy way out.

The setting and time period? You might picture Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany durGates and fences-for bloging WWII. Or a federal prison. Maybe a Japanese internment camp. Let’s take a camera along, step through the gate and check out the gated property (I’ll be sure to secure that squeaky gate behind me so that no one escapes what must be a dreadful place).

A paved driveway stretches ahead and leads to what appears to be charming modern cabins tucked within the wooded surrounding. I see robust color this time of year. Hmmm. Rich green foliage, dabs of pink rhododendron, white azaleas, lavender hydrangeas. The gate keepers confirm that this place boasts white blankets of snow in winter and acres of crimson and gold leaves in fall. Reflections of Carolina fir, pine, oak, and maple trees and smooth, sculpted indigo mountains glaze across the surface of an expansive, still lake. Water supply is abundant, safe to drink. A variety of nourishing food is served three times each day.

Reads a bit like a traveler’s brochure. Definitely not Auschwitz. Certainly not a federal penitentiary.

“Seems that the only life I have is inside these gates.”

So why the lament? Some, when placed within a secure area, experience blessed freedom. The fence that surrounds them – real or imaginary – assures safety within it’s border, a refuge of sorts. They see the surrounding fence, liken it to the loving arms of God, and break out into a Snoopy-style happy dance. They give little or no thought to any potential danger on the other side of that gated fence. Doesn’t matter ‘cause they’re not choosing to stand anywhere near the exit.

Others will linger precariously close to the gate gazing at it like it was a popsicle on a sultry summer afternoon. They persist in knowing what’s on the other side. They’ll wonder what they’re missing, insist something good is cruelly being withheld. Fence-dwellers are rattled by boundary lines. They see no beauty, feel no security behind the gate. They are either blind to the dangers crouching on the other side – those that seek to kill, steal and destroy – or they choose to remain unaware.

Reminds me of Eve. Once she had her dialogue with the Devil and allowed herself to believe God no longer had her best interest in mind, sin entered in. Bye-bye paradise! The entrance to the previously sinless Garden was then guarded by angel-cherubim and a flashing, flaming sword that prohibited the way to the tree of…that’s right…life (Genesis 2:24). With one fatal decision joy, freedom, peace was revoked by the heavenly Gate-keeper.

Bless her. Clearly God wasn’t withholding anything good from Eve within His established boundaries – except death, an undesirable inheritance I’d love to politely refuse.

“Seems like the only life I have is inside these gates.”

Gates symbolize the entrance to a place. Or the way out. Depends on one’s perspective. Apostle Paul incited the owners of a slave girl when he commanded the spirit within her to come out in the name of Jesus Christ, thus ending her fortune-telling and money making capability. As a result Paul and his companion Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown into prison. The jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. For safe measure he placed them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks (Acts 16:16-24). This could have given just cause for Paul to lament, “Seems like the only life I have is inside this prison cell.” Instead scripture says Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God (vs 25).

Maybe the only life oAGF fence dweller.2ne has is inside a gated fence. But within the safety of those established boundaries freedom and righteousness can be found.

Are you the fence dweller? Or do you know of one? Do you keep far from the boundary lines running about freely within the fence that surrounds you?

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