I could tell in one glance, she wasn’t doing well. After surgery, Lily, my beloved canine companion, looked dreadfully uncomfortable in her Victorian collar. And despite the vet’s reassurance Lily wasn’t in pain, I could tell something was amiss.
Arriving home, she didn’t want to get out of the car. As a German Shepherd weighing almost 70 pounds, I couldn’t muscle her out, either. So I let her be, leaving both the car door and the garage entryway door open, hoping she would make her way into the house when she felt up to it. Like any doting dog lover, I checked in on her about every ten minutes.
But the last time I checked, she was gone! She wasn’t anywhere in the garage, couldn’t find her in the house and there was no dog in the backyard. I panicked. Given her condition, she couldn’t have left the premises, but where was she? As the minutes clicked by and I rushed from room to empty room, my mind traveled to the worst case scenario – she’s bleeding to death in some closet somewhere and I didn’t find her fast enough to help.
Finally as my fear reached desperation pitch, I located her! Somehow, Victorian collar and all, she managed to squeeze between the tiny distance separating our concrete wall and the hedge. And there she sat, looking even more uncomfortable than she did in the vet’s office.
I must admit, I’m a bit like Lily. When difficult times are the norm, my first reaction seems to flee from my Master instead of flying to Him. That’s because I blame God for my misfortune rather than my foolish miscues or the fallen condition of the world.
I’m not the only one. Psalm 10:1 implores, “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” In my despair, all I can think about is me. Me, me, me. My hurt, my discomfort, my disappointment. My self-centeredness pulls me off my normally solid footing and into a riptide of even deeper misery. And once in over my head, even my prayers are shallow. They make God into some sort of magician whose only purpose is to keep my life from running amuck.
I drown myself in sorrow. It is there that God must rescue me time and time again. He whispers softly to me, “Why don’t you trust me? Why don’t you come to me? I love you and want you to abide in Me at all times – especially when you are dismayed. Let me shelter you and give you hope.”
You’d think after a lifetime of this habit, I’d know to run to Him first. When I hide from God, I feel foolish and ashamed. Psalm 119:11 gives the remedy for exactly this situation, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
When I run to Him instead of away from Him, when I pray and seek His guidance in the Bible, I’m no longer adrift in a sea of dejection. The Holy Spirit softens the hurt, relieves the burden and replaces it with joy. For joy is found only in giving control of your life over to God.