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Beyond Our Limits

About two years ago I bought a used car. Buying used cars can be an adventure, since you’re not really sure what all the quirks are when you decide to make the purchase.  Being without a functioning vehicle at the time, I decided to buy “Nala” – a 2001 Chevrolet Impala. Nala the Impala is a nice car. But unfortunately, her gas gauge has since ceased to function properly. In fact it goes haywire and will bob back and forth from empty to full and back right before my eyes.

Before this condition was apparent, I was unpleasantly surprised by running out of gas on the highway at a “half-tank”. My mileage indicated I had gone 330 miles since the last fill-up.  Running out of gas is never fun.  Whenever I fill-up, Nala tells me the maximum I can achieve is 450 miles to a tank. Maybe it was a fluke this time? A similar situation happened a few weeks later. Was someone siphoning gas from my tank? Maybe Nala just wasn’t the athlete she used to be? Either way, this unsettling trend lead me to regularly fill up sooner than I should have had to… usually.

While driving to Ohio one weekend, I got distracted on the phone, and didn’t realize my mileage getting higher.  I got off the phone at 465 miles since the last fill-up!  I started panicking, because I could have been seconds away from stalling out on the highway, with no gas station around in the wilderness of central Ohio. (I think I even saw a tumbleweed pass by). I prayed a quick prayer, and then felt an odd sense of liberty and peace.  When you’ve already surpassed what you knew your limit was – what boundary is there to fear then?

I briefly looked at a map and saw there was an exit about 8 miles away. I wasn’t sure if there was a gas station there or not. I didn’t have AAA, and my phone battery was dying. But I wasn’t worried. (This is a rare occurrence for me!) I felt like God was in control and whatever was going to happen would happen. It is interesting how we release our fear of our limitations when we let go of our need to be in control and hold the answers.

In life, sometimes we are past our boundaries of what we think we can handle.  In my life, sometimes I cop out at 330 miles, since I know I’ve failed there before. Other times I know I can take up to 450 miles, but it is a rough and unpleasant ride getting there, since I seldom wish to reach the cap of what I “should” be able to handle. But who sets our limits? Laws of physics? Human fear or reason? Exhaustion?

“He gives power to the weary; and to him with no vigor; He increases strength. Even the young shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall but those who wait on Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

Isa 40:29-31

We will grow weary at times, and not feel like we can go on. Satan loves to discourage us in these times; reminding us of all the times we’ve failed before. But we have a greater potential, calling, and Aid in our loving Father.

In the past two years I have been pushed emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually past my “450.” Who knows how far I can go past the boundaries?  I thought to myself that day on the road, “It’s out of my hands, and I cannot handle it myself – I am over 450 and it’s in God’s hands.” Yet it’s not just when we’re beyond our own “limits” that we should trust in God’s strength, but rather the whole time!

Eventually I did make it to the gas station and filled up at 472 miles.  Over 20 miles beyond my “limit”, I finally was refueled. (As was Nala) I sat in my car and wondered what God would do with me in my life journey? Will I renew my strength by waiting on Him? Will I push beyond my ascribed limits with His help?

In Christ, we can and do go far beyond our simple human threshold… so what boundaries are there to fear? With God your side, who or what can stand against you? It’s time to retire from being the director of our lives and give that position back to God. Let us remember to wait on the Lord and renew our strength, whether we’re at mile one, or mile five-hundred!

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