God, a puppy, and me

Some of you will mock me as a sentimental old man when you read this CoffeeBreak today. I probably would have made fun of these words 15 years ago, too.  Around 5:30 I slid into consciousness somewhat reluctant to start another week in this chaotic world. My habit is to pray for strength and grace, which I did, along with dutiful thanks to God for the blessings that are mine. But, it seemed an empty exercise. What I really wanted to do was to yell at no one in particular – why?  Why do we fight over slogans and phrases that make us feel a little better? Why do we hate people who are different? Why do we try so desperately to maintain the status quo, even when we know there is something wrong with it? Why do we retreat into fear? Oh God, why?

He found a curious way to answer my heart’s questions this morning. Flannel, my daughter’s Chocolate Lab puppy, has been in my care for a few days while she travels. Being a puppy, getting outside for the obvious is a first-line urgency in the morning. So, out we went, to walk the yard. He jumped and sniffed, turning to look at me as if to say, “Hey, let’s play.” When I just stood there, he came to my feet, plopped down and stared up at me. IF dogs could talk I think he might have said, “Snap out of it.” 

I looked around and smiled in spite of myself. As if Someone threw a light switch, all at once I saw the beauty where I stood, the bird songs suddenly audible, the radiance of the sunshine on the deep Spring green of the world a reminder of life that returns after Winter’s cold, the splash of vivid red of roses in my yard a grace gift of random beauty. Looking back at that puppy, I laughed. “Come on, little buddy, let’s walk.”  Flannel picked up on my shift in perspective and he did his own little puppy dance of delight, jumping, tail wagging, not a care in the world.

God is still in His heaven. I’m still in His care. A puppy reminded me of that today.

Jesus told us to remember the simple power of faith and trust. His advice, “Look at the birds … consider the lilies of the field.”  The full text is familiar. “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV)

To be clear, Jesus is not suggesting that we live in ignorant bliss, detached from the reality of life. We find the wisdom and strength we need to live His Kingdom life among the godless by living centered in faith in His ability to provide all that we need today.  The world is still a mess. Our nation is still torn apart. But, I am in His care and my ‘heavenly Father knows what I need!’ He knows your need, too. What’s weighing on you? Pray about it. What’s troubling your heart? Let Him help you carry it.

Here is a word from the Word – “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Abide With Me
(listen and let the Spirit touch you)

I have a home eternal home
But for now I walk this broken world
You walked it first You know our pain
But You show hope can rise
Again up from the grave

Abide with me abide with me
Don’t let me fall and don’t let go
Walk with me and never leave
Ever close God abide with me

There in the night Gethsemane
Before the cross before the nails
Overwhelmed alone You prayed
You met us in our suffering
And bore our shame

Oh love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go
You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

And up ahead eternity
We’ll weep no more we’ll sing for joy
Abide with me

David Crowder | Jason Ingram | Matt Maher | Matt Redman

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Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

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