Growing up in Colorado, I became aware of the meaning of “timberline” at an early age.  I remember taking drives to the mountains and seeing the timberline from a distance

and asking my dad what it was. It fascinated me.It seems funny now, but I was captivated to see the distinct demarkation of where trees could thrive on the side of a mountain and where they could not. That line sent a little chill through me too, because I knew if trees could not live above the timberline, I could not either. Once I even imagined what it would be like to be abandoned in such a place, with little oxygen and brutal exposure to the elements.

An interesting fact about the timberline is that it is very distinct from a distance and very obscure in reality. Some trees continue to live above the timberline but are drawfed as dry, skinny bushes. They become only a fraction as beautiful and majestic as they could be.

Yesterday as we were driving over Wolf Creek Pass on our way to Pagosa Springs, we saw the timberline on the mountains in front of us. I found the demarkation just as interesting as in my childhood.

Nature is replete with demarkation: oceans, lakes, migration patterns of birds and fish, bees, bears, the list goes on and on. Everything has its limits. The boundaries exist for the well being of the entire globe.

I love the poetical picture from the Bible that the ocean is held in restraint by bars. I also love the idea that those “bars” maybe superceded by a hurricane or tsunami. These are freaks of nature; and while I do not believe God sends catastrophic events like these, certainly we learn about Him through these events.

The cultural advice we received as kids, “If it feels good, do it” doesn’t consider the other side of timberline. Some of our whims and wishes may feel good but take us to where the elements are harsh with little oxygen. Maybe we will live there, but stunted–only half of what we could be.

The love of God constrains me, compels me to live where I can thrive.

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