Meet Bo, our “Heinz 57 Varieties” dog, who is 15″ tall, 4’7″ long (nose to tail tip) and weighs ninety-seven pounds. You couldn’t “pinch an inch” if I offered you a ten-dollar bill!
If Bo just knew how ferocious he looks! Let’s pretend you walk into our yard. He has basset ears, so they never stand up; they elevate maybe a quarter of an inch and then he gets this very serious, inquisitive look on his face and saunters casually towards you–all ninety-seven pounds of him. You would slow your pace. Your heart rate would probably elevate and you might be just a tad anxious, if it weren’t for that one de-tail–it wags–constantly.
Bo fears only two things, vacuum cleaners (and other such unknown frightening objects that make loud noises) and thunder storms. Now, if a storm were to come and we weren’t at home, he’d head for the bed–not under it–on top of it! I guess if I were scared I might head for the bed, too, and put my curls under my pillow!
I’m sure he could smell the change in the weather yesterday, and when it began looking pretty dark and ominous he decided to stay in close proximity to his master–me. I don’t know why he has decided that I’m a safer haven than Bill, but he chooses me as his lifesaver in such life-threatening situations. He was “sticking closer than a brother” and he doesn’t even know the verse!
Then it happened, a piercing flash of light and a crash of thunder! He was a mass of nerves, and he stayed that way until the storm subsided and the sun peeked out late in the afternoon. He didn’t leave my side for the duration. I talked softly to him and from my cooking I shared some chicken tidbits with him every so often to comfort him and keep his mind off the “impending doom” that was in his “horror-scope” for the day. When it was all over, Bo could once more get back to his important “dog-job”–snoozing peacefully, stretched out in the middle of the floor. (He creates quite an imposing “speed bump”!)
All of this to say that sometimes in our own lives, it’s ominously dark. We know a storm is on the way and suddenly it hits! A blast of thunder crashes through our front door and a forked flash of lightening pierces our ceiling. (Look out, bed! Here I come!) But wait! Could it be possible that my sweet Bo is smarter than we are? Our Master is at home and He’s much safer than the bed! Should we maybe get in very close proximity to Him and stay there? He knows we’re scared to death, that we’re insecure, that we don’t know what’s going to happen and that we need a “comfort zone.” He will feed us nourishing tidbits from His table and He’ll talk to us–consoling us, encouraging us, assuring us of His love and His power to protect us from the devastating storms of life.
Such times are good for us I know–these times of crashing thunder and impending doom. They help to remind us again of our weakness and of His strength, of our complete dependency upon Him. He knew we’d be that way and He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t look anxiously about you and be dismayed. Keep your eyes on me. I am with you. I will help you. I’m holding your hand with My strong right hand. It’s Me–God–talking to you and saying to you, don’t be afraid. I’m God–the One holding you, remember? I remember. I know He says that, but it’s still scary. It hurts. I’m terrified. What’s going to become of me?
Jesus has forewarned me that bad times will come. He says, “Anabel, in the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration.” That couldn’t be said more clearly–and it has proven true. Grief, pain, loss, separation, sorrow, loneliness, tears, frustration, death, sadness, disillusionment, disappointment, failure–they and all in their unhappy family are clustered under the column headed, Trials and Tribulations. But He goes on to say, “Be of good cheer–take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted.” And I want to say, “How can I be all of those things, Lord? Don’t You know I’m hurting? Don’t You know I’m scared? Don’t You realize the seriousness of this situation?” His answer is soft. There’s a note of pleading in His words. There’s compassion and love. “Anabel, I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm, I have conquered it for you.”
Jesus Christ dwells within me to face life for me. I do not have the power nor the wisdom to meet all of those trials and tribulations in myself–the grief, the financial setbacks, the unexpected tragedies–but He does and He has given me Himself specifically for when the storms are raging without and within. I have been accepted into His family. I am loved and He is my constant companion, the Friend who really does stick closer than the proverbial brother. Those are just a few of the tidbits that He gives us from His table–some of the words He whispers to us when things go wrong.
I communicate something to my Master when I keep telling Him how scared I am–how helpless I feel–when His presence brings no relief and when His words fall on frightened, unhearing ears. I’m saying to Him: I do not believe You, God. I doubt Your word. I doubt Your power. I doubt Your love.
Bo doesn’t bother me lying under my feet when the thunder’s rattling around in the heavens. I understand. I just wish I could convince sweet, old Bo that everything is going to be all right. I wish I could talk to him and tell him that I’m not going to let anything hurt him. I wish he knew my deep love for him and that I have no intention of deserting him, no matter how loud the rolling thunder, how fiercely the wind blows, or how many seconds away that last jagged bolt of lightening was when it hit. But you know, even if we could talk to each other, I wonder if he would believe me? Bo is just an animal. He cannot reason. He cannot “walk by faith.” Bo has an excuse. We don’t.