Monthly Archives: December 2017

MOLLY AND ME – TRUST

Molly is almost fourteen months old now.

She reminds me of Abraham.

When God called Abraham to leave his home country and go to a land He would show him, Abraham didn’t know God but he went as God instructed him. It took him many years and many mistakes and times of mistrust to get to know God. When the final test came, “Go and sacrifice your beloved son, Isaac, on the mountain I will show you,” Abraham didn’t  hesitate. He trusted God implicitly despite the enormity of what God asked him to do. His years of walking with God and getting to know Him built an unshakeable faith in the faithfulness of the God he could not see but trusted to do the best for him.

Molly hasn’t reached Abraham’s level of trust yet, but she’s getting there. When she came to me as a tiny six-week-0ld puppy, she didn’t know me and I didn’t know her. In the year that we have been together, we have got to know each other and her trust in me is growing. For instance, she knows that, when I roast a chicken, some of it will be hers. Chicken is her all-time favourite meat and I could never ignore that expectant little creature who sits patiently waiting, tantalised by the smell of the delicacy, for her share.

Molly is beginning to understand human language. If I use the same words often enough, accompanied by the action, she responds with great enthusiasm to my instructions. If I tell her to “Go play,” she runs outside to look for her doggy friend. When I tell her, “Let’s go walkies,” she rushes to the gate and waits for me to put on her harness – a necessity for an energetic little dog who wants to take on all the neighbourhood canines, big or small.

She loves to sit with me on my recliner, snuggling in beside me with the anticipation of a nap while I do what ever I am doing at the time. She sometimes taps me on the leg to let me know she’s there and ready for me to pick her up. She often jumps high enough for me to see her beside my chair, then backs off and teases me by staying just out of reach. When she is ready, she comes near enough and willing for me to hoist her onto my lap.

When I leave her at home to go on an errand, she trusts me enough to let me go without a fuss if I give her a meaty bone to chew while I am away. She makes no attempt to follow me to the car because she knows that I will return.

Over the many years of my walk with the Lord, God has used many varied and sometimes difficult and painful experiences to teach me to trust Him. Trust is never automatic – it has to be learned by getting to know the character of the one whom you trust. If I were to fail Molly by ignoring her needs or failing to keep my promise, would she still trust me? She knows that I love her. How does she know? Apart from the many assurances of my love, the cuddles and kisses, I take care of her, meet all her needs and always pay attention to her when she “tells” me what she wants.

Of one thing I am very sure, God loves me. Apart from the declarations of His love in His Word, I have a lifetime of experience of His care, provision, faithfulness to His promises and blessing over and beyond anything I could have ever anticipated or dreamed of. Can God be trusted? Yes! A thousand times, yes! I have reached a point in my life of 77 years, that I can rest in Him no matter what happens because I have proved and I know that, in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

God’s on a mission – to conform me to the image of His Son. And that’s enough for me. I trust Him. Do you?

MOLLY AND ME – DEPENDENCE

I enjoy watching animal rescue programmes on TV, especially when the end result is a happy, healthy creature after weeks or months of abandonment or neglect.

When one has a pet, there is one thing one must never forget.

From the moment I got Molly, I became aware that it was not just myself that I had to take care of but a tiny puppy that was utterly dependent on me. I had to feed her regularly with the appropriate food, bath her, protect her and keep her environment safe, give her exercise and play with her, keep her warm at night and make sure that her toys were safe for a small puppy to chew.

I discovered that a puppy understands very little and knows nothing! I had to teach her and train her to be a dog – when and where to go to the bathroom, what was good and what was not good to chew, not to scratch or bite me in play, where to find her food and water, and so much more.

Now that she is a “teenager”, she had learnt many lessons well but, although she thinks she is independent now, she still needs me to be her “mother” because there are many things she cannot do. For instance, she can’t open the fridge and find her cooked chicken or mince for supper or her kibble in the cupboard; she knows where her treats are but she can’t get to them; she can’t open the back door to go outside to play or to use the bathroom; she can’t get in or out of the car; she can’t bath herself or clean her ears. She would not stay alive long if I did not care for her.

I have also discovered that God wants us to depend on Him for every need we have. We spend up to eighteen years training our children for responsible independence in the big world out there. It takes a lifetime and more for God to teach us that we are nothing and lost without Him. Isn’t that why Jesus told His disciples that, unless they became as little children, they would never experience God’s rule in their lives?

True spiritual maturity is not about how well we know the Bible, how often we go to church or participate in the life of the body of Christ, how good we are at practising our spiritual gifts or even how many people we have led to faith in Jesus.

The writer to the Hebrews stated simply:

Without faith it is impossible to please God… (Heb. 11:6a)

Jesus said:

Apart from me, you can do nothing… (John 15:5c) 

Like an unborn baby that gets everything it needs from its mother through the umbilical cord, we need to be attached to God through the “umbilical cord” of the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual maturity is absolute dependence on God for every detail of our lives. That’s the faith that pleases God!

MOLLY AND ME – BELONGING

I remember the day I fetched Molly from the breeder. She wasn’t actually my first choice.

I was given a Yorkshire terrier puppy as a farewell gift when I left the church and my role as pastoral assistant to move to another city. Tosca, my Yorkie, was six weeks old. After her first night, when she missed her mother and her siblings, she settled down into a rambunctious, independent little bundle of mischief. I adored her, but she became a mystery to me.

I still continued to serve the church in a once-a-week capacity by travelling to my ex hometown to work in the office.

Two of Tosca’s siblings had been bought by my pastor and the playschool administrator with whom I stayed overnight every week. The three siblings spent two days every week romping and sleeping together in the office complex but, as soon as I arrived back home, Tosca would become a morose, even depressed little creature. She refused to eat and slept most of the day – until I realised that she was lonely. Another Yorkie as a companion would have been just too much so I settled for a miniature dachshund.

By this time, Tosca was five months old and Molly six weeks. At first, Tosca would have nothing to do with Molly because she couldn’t figure out what she was! However, after a few days, they became inseparable. Molly loved Tosca so much that she insisted on sleeping, not just in her bed but as close as she could to her, mostly lying against her or on top of her.

Then came the terrible day I shall never forget. I took Tosca to the SPCA to be spayed when she was six months old. Never imagining for a moment that anything would go wrong, I left her in the capable hands of the vet, only to receive a phonecall a few hours later from the distraught assistant to tell me that Tosca had reacted to the anaesthetic. I rushed out to the SPCA and there lay my little treasure, all the life with her energy and zest gone out of her. I was devastated!

Fortunately, I still had my little Molly. Needless to say, with her little canine companion no longer there to cuddle up to, she bonded even more strongly with me. My bed became her place of comfort! She has never slept anywhere else at night, as close as she can get to me, since that day.

Molly is truly mine. She loves people (at least those she knows)! She makes a huge fuss of my family and the friends who visit from time to time, but she knows to whom she belongs. When she is through playing or exploring the garden for snails, she comes running into the house and insists that I pick her up so that she can cuddle up on my lap and sleep in absolute contentment.

O, how our heavenly Father longs that we would know and understand what it means to belong to Him. I bought Molly with hard cash. He bought us with the precious blood of His Son! Molly is my pet. We are His beloved sons and daughters. Molly runs to me for protection, for food, and for comfort and companionship. Father God wants us to run to Him for every need and in every situation because He is our source. Without Him, we are nothing.

With great yearning after His wayward people. He urged,

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you, O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.’  (Isaiah 43:1 – NLT)

Jesus assured us:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-28 – NLT) 

Do you belong to Him?

MOLLY AND ME – COMPASSION

It amazes me how life lessons can be found in simple things. Take Molly and me, for example. As I mentioned in my last post, Molly is my thirteen-month-old, strawberry dapple miniature dachshund – a fancy title for a cute, mischievous, energetic, adoring and adorable little sausage dog.

She has taught me much about worship, not the faulty, fickle and often selfish what-do-I- get-out-of-this kind of human worship but the dog-kind – the unselfconscious, unselfish and pure kind of worship that she shows me when she lies on my lap and gazes into my eyes with adoring devotion reflected in her dark brown eyes.

In Molly’s eyes, I am perfect. I can do nothing wrong. I praise her when she understands and does what I ask her to do. I give her treats for no reason at all. I faithfully feed her and give her clean water to drink. She sleeps in a clean, warm bed (with me, of course), every night. I protect her from harm as best I can and she responds to my care with loyalty, adoration and companionship.

How do I respond to this kind of devotion? I see her as small, vulnerable, sometimes uncomprehending, sometimes stubborn but always coming back to me to love and be loved. Since I recognise that she is a dog, not a human, I have to adjust my attitude towards her accordingly. My heart goes out to her in compassion; she is small and fragile. I don’t judge her for her failures. I accommodate to her dog-ness.  Why? It’s because I love her for who she is.

Then I find myself multiplying my compassion for Molly by the God-ness of God’s compassion for me and I glimpse the heart of my Father towards His human children. He knows how frail and vulnerable we are.  He knows how weak we are; He understands that we are dust (Psalm 103:14 – NLT).

How can I judge Molly when she is only a dog?

My Father has placed all my judgment on Jesus, His Son because I am only a human. I could never have satisfied His perfect standards, so Jesus took my place and bore the punishment I deserved for my failure. Now I can sit on the Father’s lap and gaze into His face with pure adoration because of His love for me.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us as we deserve. For His unfailing love towards those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth (Psalm 103:8-11 – NLT).