Tag Archive | trusting God

God Can Get Your Dog Out of a Tree

skye-watchingOne night this week my small cattledog Skye began to bark like crazy from the back of my yard. It was dark. It was raining. I called for her, but she wouldn’t come inside. No, whatever had captured her attention back there was much more interesting than I was.

I grabbed a flashlight and headed back. The back of our yard is filled with trees and scrub, so I had push through. I heard her, and I swung the flashlight all over but couldn’t see her. Then I saw motion overhead, so I flashed the light and found something black and white in the tree. Ah. A neighbor cat. Explained the barking. She loves to tree cats. Again I flashed the light under the neighbor cat, but still no dog, although I could hear her.

At this point I flashed up at the neighbor cat again. It was on a large, wide, broken trunk of tree, seven feet off the ground. Only it wasn’t the neighbor cat. It was my dog, over my head, in a tree, barking and whining like the world was coming to an end.

I thought she was stuck. I climbed over the back fence to the other side of the tree and began to coax her down. If she got close enough, I could grab her and pull her from the tree. She was still barking like the apocalypse was near. Then I happened to glance to my left, and I almost dropped the flashlight, because I was staring at a possum, six inches from my face at eye level, tucked into the crook of the tree.

I had no idea what to do next. Possums aren’t generally dangerous, but when you’re flashing a light in its face and your dog is above it barking like a wild monster–well, I would bite, too. So now I’m trying to coax my dog to the side while attempting not to get bitten by a terrified possum.

In the dark.

In the rain.

I yelled at the dog. I guess eventually I sounded angry enough to catch Skye’s attention, because she turned around, walked along the broken trunk (it was arched over the fence like a bridge, something I hadn’t realized until this very dark, very wet moment), and headed back down into my yard. I climbed the fence, grabbed the dog, and stomped into the house, both of us wet and tired.

The whole time I wished my husband had been there. I kept thinking if he hadn’t been at work, if he’d been here, he’d have known exactly what to do. I have known my husband more than half his life. I know for a fact he has no experience coaxing dogs out of trees while trying to avoid possums. In the rain. In the dark. But I also know for a fact he would have helped me. I always believe he can do anything. He’d have been out there in the rain with me because he loves me. Together we’d have figured it out.

As I was thinking about this, I came to a sad realization. It’s a truth I’ve posted about more than once this year, and I think it’s time to deal with this little problem. My husband loves me with an imperfect love. He doesn’t always have the skills to help, even though I tell myself he can do anything. And yet I trust he will always come and always help.

God loves me with perfect love. He always has the skills I need. And yet, I don’t always trust Him to come and help.

It’s a big deal right now for Christians to try to know their identity in Christ, to know what they mean to God. I realize I need to back up a step. Once again I am faced with the truth that I still don’t know God. Not very well. I’m pretty sure if I knew His character, understood His love, knew His real compassion and power and knowledge, I wouldn’t hesitate to call him to get my dog out of trees. I’d be able to trust Him with the souls of my children without fear. I could face ageing with a chronic illness without worry. I could line up my days with joy and not doubt.

So. This year I crashed and burned with my Bible reading. And I  think I know why. I need to simplify. Someone once told me I need to read a Bible passage and ask “What does this say about God? What does it say about me? How can I apply this?” Well, I need remedial Bible reading. For now, the question needs to be “What does this say about God?” And then I need to stop there.  Until I can answer that with some wisdom, until I can be consistent and stop falling back to the idea of God as angry or distant or unloving, I can’t possibly know myself or how to behave. (Okay, within reason. I’m not going to throw obedience to the wind. But the focus needs to be HIM.)

I have no idea how to keep our dog in the yard now that she knows she might find possums in trees. Now that she realizes she can climb trees. But at least now I know where to look if she goes crazy again. And I know who to call. Part of this is knowing God. Part of it is putting that knowledge to the test and calling on God all the time, for all things. He loves me. He’ll come. I never have to slog through the dark rain alone.

It’s okay

It's OkayIn my Monday post I used a simple little phrase–It’s going to be okay. I wrote that on Friday. Then on Sunday, my pastor used it, too. He talked about Jesus showing up in the upper room after his resurrection. He suggested one reason Jesus appeared in person to these scared, grieving, uncertain souls was to reassure them he was powerful and in control and that it would all be okay.

In my Monday post, I used the term in the context of writing. If my writing career tanks (okay, if it never takes off; let’s be honest about a few things here!), God still loves me. My failure will never put God’s plan to love me in jeopardy. It will be okay.

The next context was Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago. Jesus was dead. His followers had wasted three years following a guy who didn’t amount to much. They had no idea what to do next. Then there he was, showing them his hands and his side. The rabbi was back, only he was more than a rabbi. Everything he said was true, yet much bigger and better than they realized. The plan was never in jeopardy. It would be okay.

I think the world is a little bit scary right now. People who love God in this world are being burned alive, beheaded, fined, exiled, slandered, and more, and it’s scary. But the big plan? Never in jeopardy. He’s got this. He beat death. It’s going to be okay.

Right now, this post is under five hundred words. That’s short. But I want to stop here.  Jesus won. The plan stands. Nothing can ever upset it. He’s in control of all of it. Everything. Whatever happens here, whatever hardship comes along, whatever Satan’s new tactics, there is a plan for a future, a plan where all this falls away, a plan where wrong is made right. The outcome of every battle is the same. Jesus wins.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (false prophets, evil spirits), because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4,5

He has overcome. We will overcome. Sit with that a while this week. Breathe it in and let it fill your spirit with comfort and rest. It’s all going to be okay.