Beyond the Borders of Heaven’s Help

If you’ve ever watched The Lion King, you know about the elephant graveyard. This was the dreaded place which existed beyond the borders of the lions’ territory.

It was full of all kinds of dangers, and every little lion was raised to know that crossing that boundary meant stepping outside the realm of given authority. While rescue could be expected, it was a place where the lion kingdom’s laws were not respected or effective. To go there was to risk consequences of a fatal nature.

I find many beautiful allusions to our Christian life in the movie, but this one piques my interest and warns my prone-to-wandering heart. As Christians, we tend to be a lot like the little lion cubs who “bravely” dared to go where they had been forbidden to. Our adventurous and curious natures can – and often do – lead us into all kinds of troubles.

We are conditioned to believe that, when we encounter trouble in the places we were never supposed to go, we can call out to God and He will swoop in and rescue us. Partly because He has, and partly because He has promised to. This isn’t a wrong belief or expectation, just an immature one. And one that will eventually leave us disappointed.

As with all creatures great and small, maturity is an inherent process which should ultimately lead us to make better choices – choices that don’t land us in graveyards.

While God is a Deliverer, there is the hope and possibility that we won’t always be in need of deliverance. Instead – having been created with the capacity to grow up and into Christ, with new hearts full of the Spirit of God – we could actually learn to live and thrive and reign within the borders we’ve been assigned.

In Luke 12, Jesus makes a statement that would startle many believers who live with one foot always in the elephant graveyard. He is approached by a man who has a conflict with his brother, and is asking for help. He wants Jesus to talk to his brother, and tell him to share the inheritance he has received.

As a granddaughter left in charge of executing my Grandmother’s will, this is a freshly relevant text to me. Arguments between family members over who gets (and should or should not get) the treasures that belonged to another are a real and revealing thing. What becomes most apparent in moments like these is the motivation behind the request or complaint.

You would think that, Jesus being God, He could have mediated the situation and appointed a fair share for both brothers. I mean, it would make sense, right? Isn’t He a just God? Doesn’t He care that we are all provided for? My always-wanting-to-be-delivered heart says yes.

But the always-wanting-to-mature-and-perfect-me Word of God says different.

In Luke 12: 13 Jesus answered, “My friend, you can’t expect me to help you with this. It’s not my business to settle arguments between you and your brother – that’s yours to settle.’” (Passion Translation)

What?!?!?! You mean there are actually areas where we can’t expect Heaven’s help????

This makes me think about how many times I have prayed for something, and not received what I asked for. Often, we walk away from disappointments like that feeling abandoned or unheard. That’s always a prime opportunity for the enemy to take a good whack at our trust in God’s protection and provision. Some of us have entire graveyards full of dead requests like these.

But Jesus wasn’t being negligent or callous with the man in the story, any more than He has been negligent or callous with us. Immediately following His refusal to help, Jesus redirects the man, reminding him of where he can expect to find help.

Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, ‘Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.’”  Luke 12:12-15

It seems this man had ventured off into forbidden territory. He had allowed his heart to wander into a place of greed. He desired what God did not desire for him, and expected God to help him get it. It can be disguised as a legitimate request for provision, but to the One Who searches and knows the hearts of all men, it was revealed for what it really was.

Jesus didn’t help him because he didn’t want him to be content in a place where he was cut off from the real source of provision and authority. He didn’t want him to think he was the king of a graveyard, when in reality he would only be a little lion cub outside the covering of true authority, and prey to all the lurking dangers of deceptive gain.

If he would commit to life within the borders of God’s Word, his heart would be governed by God’s authority and his desires would be abundantly supplied, so that he wouldn’t have to venture into forbidden graveyards. God’s commands come with a stocked promise of true fulfillment.

I have found, more often than not, that when I go to God with a complaint or a request for help in mediating through the issues of my life and my relationships, He puts a magnifying spotlight on my heart. And rather than changing what I’ve asked Him to, He gives me the opportunity to change, to return to His plans and desires for my life.

As an example, I’ll bare my folly and share one of my recent out-of-bounds pleas for help. It had been a particularly harrowing week in my house, full of demands and plenty of room for frustrations and miscommunication. My husband and I laid awake, knowing we needed to work through some unresolved issues. I was tired, and didn’t feel like I had much emotional capacity left. I didn’t feel able to muster the strength or even dig for the desire to do what I knew needed to be done.

So instead I prayed for a get-out-jail-free card. I asked God for help, praying that he would just knock my husband out – putting him to sleep so I could drift off without having to deal with anything else that day.

I’m sure you can guess the outcome, but in case you’re still busy laughing, or owning your own similar folly, I’ll share the answer I received. There was no such help granted. Instead, my heart was exposed, and the gift of conviction came.

I had no business lurking around the graveyard of selfishness, ease and temporary comfort. I needed to return to the prescribed borders of love, honor and peacemaking. And when I did, the conflicts were resolved, the enemy lost his preying vantage point, and we both received rest that was undisturbed and sufficient.

The business of Heaven is not found in the graveyards we wander into. It is within the hearts of the children of God.  If we will learn to live where He has called us to, many of our “needs” and conflicts would dissolve.

Heaven’s truest help is found not in granting all our wayward desires and urgent cries for help, but in leading us back to the standard of truth that protects our lives from unnecessary griefs, deprivations and dangers.

This ought to change not only the way we respond to the conflicts in our lives, but also the way we pray and the way we live. Before we ask Jesus for help, to get what we want or feel we may need, we should allow Him to search our hearts, and see if we’re standing in the right place. Before we ask Him to intervene, we should ask Him if the things we desire are in line with His desires for us. We should consider whether we have strayed into forbidden territory, and be willing to run back to the place He instructed us to live.

Sometimes we need to back up and return to the simple pursuits God has prescribed for us. And as we do, life becomes less complicated, illegal desires dissolve, and complaints give way to rejoicing, because life God’s way is all-inclusive. He has built into His commands a joy and a satisfaction that lead to the most fulfilling life imaginable.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, are you living where God has called you to? Do you consider the borders He has placed around your life good? Or do you find yourself always wandering past them, off into forbidden territories and in need of help and deliverance again?

The help of Heaven belongs to those who dwell with God in the land He has so graciously given. The Promised Land was measurably a small piece of territory, but it was rich with the abundance of supernatural provision.

I wonder if you can envision yourself being content with God’s lot for you? I wonder if you can allow the Spirit of God to mature you into a woman whose heart is happy with what she has, and whose help is never denied because her requests are never uttered from beyond the borders of Heaven’s decree?

May we learn to dwell with God, and be satisfied with His provision. May we consider all of our ways and evaluate our requests, to see if they are within the borders He has prescribed. And may we grow into reigning Brides who are worthy to wield the authority He fashioned us to walk in, teaching others of the hope and promise found within the beautiful boundaries of the Kingdom of God.

{Photo images courtesy of}

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