“I can’t believe this is not even a dream.”
Lauren tugged her seat-belt around her neck to click it fastened without breaking her gaze with the fluffy ball of puppy sitting on my lap as we drove out of the school pick up line. After years of campaigning, Cherry the golden-doodle had just made Lauren’s long awaited puppy dream come true.
“I can’t believe this is not even a dream.”
I stumbled around the house half-soaked in puppy pee at 4AM, fumbling to flip on every light to illuminate the leash that had vacated it’s convenient spot by the door. Yanked out of my warm bed and into the snow, the full struggle of what I’d anticipated began to sink into my ice cold toes.
“I will train you, and I will be the favorite,” I mused, seeking redemption for my husband’s ranking with the last family pet.
Puppy training is so incredibly similar to tiny people training. Sleep deprived. Pressed for patience. Tongue tied and tired and prone to tears. Bitten in the knees and scratched in the face. Being the “favorite” was exhausting. How many times does life bite back at us like that, in sinking defeat when our physicality fails us…
The responsibility that resides alongside favoritism is a calling we cannot conform to unaccompanied.
“Didn’t the lady say to keep extending her time in the crate?” my husband asked. Those words were written on a tip sheet on my desk the whole time…buried underneath my puppy agenda. Thankful he braved my madness, a wave of relief washed over me as I latched the door shut.
The truth we hide in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) will pierce through insecurities and put our doubts in the crate. Be encouraged that we weren’t made to accomplish it alone. Let’s open God’s “tip sheet,” and uncover some Biblical truth. After all, it’s been sitting here the whole time.
1. I’ve got this, because God’s got me.
” I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”
Let’s learn forward by looking back. David, the author of this verse, undoubtedly leaned on prayer for his survival. This one in particular he prayed as a dad, looking back at the end of his life in preparation to crown his son, Solomon.
“In Hebrew,’will’ can be translated ‘rason,’ a word that expresses an individual’s personal desires, wants, or will.”It’s used to describe God’s will in the NIV translation, or a battle of wills among two people. (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary.) Click “Study This”
David was pleased to please God. He wasn’t just obedient because he felt he had to be. From the deepest crack in his heart, David willed to want God’s will.
David didn’t always act favored, but He felt God’s favoritism in his heart. God is faithful to remind me not to plant my feet on the mark of my own ambitions, abilities, or the approval of others. Each morning, the message is… “Get your heart, right, favorite.”
2. The battle has already been won. Just breathe.
David knew that his joy came from the honest relationship he maintained with God, knowing that He was all that he needed. David’s life reflected the honest, open-hearted relationship that God still desires to maintain with us to this day. Accept we don’t have to kill animals and rely on priests to carry our message….because of Jesus we can now go straight to God with our lives. We can call Him, Dad, and pour our tears down in prayer…lift our arms up in praise. He is with us…right here..accessible…because of Jesus.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
God created us in His image and incapable of doing life without Him. Oh, we can try. We can keep taking the puppy out to pee every fifteen minutes. Or we can put it in the crate and save everyone’s sanity.
God will always send a person, a song, a word, or a scene from His artwork as a sign that He loves us. The author of Chronicles took two books of the Bible to address the cry of God’s people after the reign of King David and his son King Solomon had passed…and they were left in destruction, defeat, and nomadic once again, wondering…
“Is God still interested in us?” (NIV Study Notes)
We feel that way, don’t we? When we’ve drifted so far into the hurt of our hearts that we can’t remember what He said He would do with our lives. Maybe you’ve never heard Him at all.
“I’ve never known life without kitty,” my daughter muttered sporadically after the loss of our furry feline family member.
The loss to my husband and I was way more devastating than we thought it would be, but to my seven-year old, her life shifted a little as she learned lean into the Lord to heal. When I glance over at Cherry, sleeping smack on her back just like Blizzard did, it reminds me that God is faithful to heal and restore. And my little girl is glued to new life in endless puppy cuddles.
God was still interested in His people back then, and beyond: “God’s grace and love for the restored community did not begin with David or the exodus-but with creation.” NIV Study Notes.
He’s interested. Grace, love, and restoration were ours for the grabbing before creation. Loss and loneliness are rampant parts of our realities. Enter despair, hobbling up the front steps. These truths arm us to stop it at the door.
God is accessible through Jesus Christ. That’s what the cross is all about. Put your puppies in the crate…give your worries to God. Set down your scrambling and pick up Jesus’ hand. He’s holding it out, lovingly shaking his head, waiting for you to give up and grab on.
You can’t do it alone, because you weren’t created to.
Let your Father be your Father…His Son will light your way…This Lent, journey to the cross. (Never heard His voice? Hearing it now? Start here.)
Happy puppy training…oh, wait…that’s me…prayers, please.