The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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Hebrew 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
We were out at the park for a walk when I saw the incident. It was not something I was involved in, but as a parable it influenced me considerably. There was a man, a short stocky man with an air of no nonsense about him. He had an enormous Alsatian (German Shepherd) Dog. He told the dog to sit. The dog complied. He turned around and began to walk off without looking around, a determined air about him. The dog lasted 10 yards before little by little with great fear and concern it began to creep forwards and follow the man. The man turned and saw the dog creeping forward. He returned and rebuked the dog before the whole scene was re-enacted. In fact the scene was re-enacted a number of times because the dog did not learn the lesson! What made the situation all the more absurd was that this fearful dog was so enormous and the man so small, despite its great size and strength, the dog was fearful that it’s master would leave forever.
How much of a picture this is of my relationship with God. He asks me to wait, and then he is silent. It is almost as if he is sitting with a calendar to see how many days I can take the strain. As I write this, I am sitting waiting for God to provide a van for our recently enlarged family. I thought that the issue would be lack of money, so he gave us the money! Then he told me not to look for the van but rather to wait for him to bring it to me! Well that was OK at the beginning when I thought He was going to do it quickly. After months had gone by and still no van, I became frustrated. There were people who had generously provided for the van sitting in England waiting for us to buy one. Then there was my family scrunched up in the back of the car when we drove as a family, feeling grounded from taking trips of any length.
In these circumstances doubt roles in. Did I really hear from God correctly? What if it was just the figment of my imagination? How long do I wait? A few weeks would have been OK, but this is getting intolerable, and there is no end in sight. How will I even know when he has presented us with the right van? He promised that if we obeyed Him then he would send a marvel. But what does a marvel look like?
The temptation is great to just get it over with. Accept second best now rather than a marvel in God’s time. If it was just me then I would be content, but my wife has to sit in the back with a wriggle of a six year old daughter on her lap, and a church back home thinking who knows what, I feel the pressure. It is not that they are saying anything. I have heard no complaints, but my imagination fills the silence with all sorts of complaints – real or imaginary.
In the midst of my doubts God reminds me of ‘The Man and his Dog’ and I wait.
Post script - The van came, it was fantastic, really worth the wait, and it proved to be a blessing for many people over many years. First in our family, and later helping missionaries in Latvia take kids to church camps.
A MAN AND HIS DOG