Monday, February 14, 2011

Beagle Lessons in a Life of Faith

I didn’t want to take her. As she lay there, I weighed the pros and cons of taking our recalcitrant Beagle (Daisy) for a walk. I don’t know if all Beagles are this way, but she’s very difficult on a leash. Once she gets outdoors, her nose takes over and drives her, clearly triggering her hunting instincts. She’s smart but very stubborn. Finally, I decided that the perpetual chubbiness that we share was enough to merit a walk for both of us.

As we walked I sensed the Lord wanting to speak to me. I felt like Daisy and I had much in common, far more than I would like to admit. Like her I fight against the “leash” of God’s providential limits on my life, easily wandering off into trouble. If Daisy weren’t on a leash, her nose would cause her to wander until she was thoroughly lost and likely in trouble (i.e., from cars). Her choke chain serves to warn her of the dangers of wandering. The leash and chain help her to get back on the path. So too, when I’m listening to the Father and embracing my limits, so I remain on the path with him. Sowing and reaping trouble in my mind, body and relationships also warns me that I’m straying away in some fashion.

On my walks, the sidewalk serves as a symbol for the “path of righteousness” that God is guiding me on. When Daisy walks beside me the leash can be loosely comfortable, requiring the least amount of effort for both of us. On the path, we walk together, instead of walking two divergent ways. When she wants to go her own way, she fights against the leash until she gets tired; only then does she walk on the sidewalk beside me without too much effort.

The Lord gently reminded me that my stubbornness in sin far outweighs Daisy’s, giving me a new appreciation for His patience and a renewed patience towards Daisy! Recently the consequences of my wandering have been manifested in my back, with unexplained pain and spasms. It has been a wake up call for me to “get back on the path" with God and stop living so independently from Him. As I’ve tried to live more interactively with him throughout the day (and not just at certain “devotional times”) and pour out my heart to him, I’ve begun to see glimpses of what His “easy yoke” can be like as I walk with-God on the path instead of going my own way. May the Lord continue to use Daisy to soften and turn my stubborn will into submission to His wisdom and strength.

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