“Hmmm the smells, so many smells, I have to find whatever has generated this smell. Protect the owner, protect the other floppy-eared animal, protect the world, MUST – FIND – THAT - SMELL!!!”
This is the conversation I imagine my Basset Hound, Max, has with himself as he stubbornly points in the opposite direction. Yes, you guessed it, our daily routine includes quite a comical scene as we walk 3-5 times on the same path, in opposite directions. He is amazingly a very loyal dog EXCEPT when he decides he wants to go the other way.
As we commence our familiar habit this morning, I hear my Father’s still small voice as He taps me on the shoulder during my frustration over my dog’s willful disobedience.
“My daughter, give him grace, just as I give to you.”
Grace? WHAT? Ouch, I need grace too don’t I Father? “Oh yes my daughter, grace upon grace upon grace.”
While my sweet puppy is led by his nose and at times must be re-aligned in the direction that I want him to go, I too can be led away by the world requiring re-alignment in the direction of my Father.
And I can waste a lifetime throwing exceptions in the air:
But Lord, I want to go this way . . ., while my Father replies: “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12)
But I’m not good enough . . ., to which He lovingly answers: “For by one sacrifice, I have made PERFECT FOREVER you who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14 paraphrased)
But God I have to do this first . . ., as He gently reminds: “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
But Father, how can I believe . . . , He softly acknowledges: “Trust in Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Me and I will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 paraphrased)
But I need this . . ., He lovingly answers: “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
But I can’t do . . ., The Lord declares: “You can do all this through Him (Christ) who gives you strength.” (Philippians 4:13 paraphrased)
Ultimately, my sweet and loyal puppy has a choice to follow me or to follow his nose. If he chooses to follow me, he knows there is a soft bed and a cabinet full of food and treats awaiting him, he knows that when it is mealtime, his mommy will give him his beloved pre-meal hug, he knows that he is greatly loved by the one who took him in and gave him a name. If he doesn't follow me, he may enjoy the multitude of smells in his path, but ultimately he will be sleeping in the cold and scrounging for his next meal.
Guess what? I too have a choice, I can choose to follow my Father and the guidance He has given in His Word or I can choose to go my own way. The consequence is mine either way.
I can learn a lot from my willful yet loyal and ultimately obedient puppy.
For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH – and this IS NOT from yourselves, it IS the GIFT of GOD (Ephesians 2:8)
Father, thank You for providing for me all that I need, for placing your loving arms around me in the moments that I need comfort, for loving me, for taking me in and giving me a name, for calling me precious daughter, child of God. Thank You Father for the peace that comes when I align myself to You. Most of all, thank You for Grace that allows me forgiveness in Christ. It is because of You Lord that I have the opportunity to life to the full, in You.
I Love You,