January 7 Confronting Barriers

scripture reading: Lamentations 3:19–26
key verse: Lamentations 3:24

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

In her book Grace Grows Best in Winter, Margaret Clarkson writes that foreboding circumstances can be “God’s hedges”:

For most of His children, God’s hedges do not seemingly entail suffering, but only protection. For some, however, they mean unending pain and weakness, disappointment and sorrow, varying in degree to total imprisonment.

Why this must be so, we may not know; sufficient for us to know that God Himself has hedged us in, and God’s hedges are always hedges of protection and blessing.

And God Himself, living there both with us and in us, longs to make of our thorny wall a thing of wonder to men and angels and demons—a thing that will one day bring forth holy blossom and fruit.

Fragrance and fruit from a thorny hedge—how can it be? Only by His Spirit’s enabling.… Did not the thorniest tree of all bring forth the holy flower of redemption?

If God has entrusted you with a hedge of suffering let Him teach you how to live within it so that His holy purpose and His life–giving fruit may be fully accomplished through you!

Father, sometimes I feel that I am hedged in by my circumstances. Let me recognize these barriers as Your protection and blessing. Let the thorny hedges in my life bring forth fragrance and fruit for Your glory.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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