Molly, my two-year-old “worsie”, has a severe allergy problem. What a struggle to find out what is causing her itching, scratching, biting, licking behaviour! My heart goes out to her in her distress.
Now, Molly is used to being spoiled. She believes that she is entitled to a tidbit of everything I eat. Of course, I taught her this habit by sharing my treats with her, but now that we are trying to isolate her allergens by trial and error, I have to deny her all the bits and pieces she was used to in an effort to save her from her perpetual scratching.
However, it does not please her to be denied what she believes to be her right! At first, she sat expectantly in front of me with a look on her face that said, “I know you’ll share your treats with me…” to “Why aren’t you sharing your treats with me?” to “Why are you being so selfish?” to a stance of resigned disappointment, looking away as though I am the worst piece of “worsie” owner in the world!
Now, Molly only speaks “dog” and I only speak English, so how in the world am I supposed to make her understand that I am not being cruel to her? I am being both loving and kind by denying her what is harmful and causes her distress. Despite her feelings of cruelty and betrayal, I must persevere until I find the cause of her malady.
This interaction between Molly and me makes me think of God’s ways with us. He has given us instructions and guidelines in His Word for living “allergy-free” lives in a world full of options that cause us discomfort and distress. However, unlike my difficulty in communicating with Molly, God has given us a very special gift – His Holy Spirit who lives in us and teaches us the meaning, importance and value of His instructions. We don’t need a special language to understand Him because He communicates with us, spirit to spirit.
God knows that sin of any kind, sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit, are dangerous and destructive. His passion is for us, through obedience to His Spirit, to live distress-free lives so that we can grow and flourish as members of His family and citizens of His kingdom in a world that is falling apart and destroying itself by its ever-increasing sinfulness.
God’s love for His children is perfect. When He disciplines us through hardships of denies us the “treats” we think we deserve, He is not being harsh or cruel; He is protecting us from what will eventually destroy us.
All He wants from us is trust in His love so that we don’t fret and fume over what He denies us, just as I want Molly to trust me when I don’t give her what she demands. God, our Father, regards our faith as more precious than gold. If our trust in Him is that valuable, don’t you think that He would be worthy of our confidence in Him to make the right choices for us?