The first dogs we adopted for our young family were two “rescued” Pembroke corgis that our vet had received from someone else. We brought home Peanut, and within a few days we also acquired her sister, Popcorn. (Okay, so we didn’t name them.)
Peanut settled in quite well to family life; Popcorn was a different matter. She made it quite clear, in her unique doggy way, that she was not pleased with humans, period. Her defiant demeanor was manifested in several ways, not the least of which was a little brown pile on top of our bed (and that was a LONG way for a corgi to jump!) She would slink away to hide by herself, and even seemed to adversely influence our otherwise congenial Peanut.
She was angry, untrusting, and had clearly been hurt in the past. Even though she was now in a loving home, she just could not conceive the fact that she was herself loved, safe, and a valued part of our family.
Kind of like the people of Israel when they approached the Promised Land for the first time. God had proven His power and dedication in ways almost unimaginable to us today, and yet…
“The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the LORD.”
Really, the primary obedience that God is expecting from us is our belief in Him, His promises and His love. He gives us the full run of this new Family home; there are rooms to explore and spaces to enjoy: peace, healing of mind and emotions and memories, new relationships (including with myself!). We can relearn how to use our strengths and discover new talents that were covered with shame or neglect, or just sheer ignorance. And there is freedom, especially from fear.
Sure, bad things happen. Sometimes it’s my own fault, or maybe the consequence of someone else’s poor decision. Or a little of both. It doesn’t make me any less a member of His household. I am not alone, I am not an orphan, and He’s not going to send me back to the vet’s place.
What promised land of peace, joy and fruitfulness am I sacrificing because of unbelief in my Father’s heart to care of me—spiritually, emotionally, as well as physically? Trusting in His grace to guide me into all truth, and His Spirit to empower me to obey is big part of that obedient trust He is asking of me, instead of grumbling and complaining, which tends to be a default mode for many of us.
In the midst of conflict and/or confusion, pause and breathe in “I believe You” and breathe out “I trust You”.
Just in case someone is wondering, Popcorn became an amazing buddy, although it took time and patience.
And our Father has plenty of both.
Psalm 106: 24, 25 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.