Walter and the Journey
For those of you that aren’t aware, I am the proud “Mama” of Walter, a 3-month old LhasaPoo. Having had Walter for all of one week, I can finally say that I am an expert at raising a puppy! (I wish!) This morning, as Walter decided that 6:00 was a great wake-up time (I had decided on 7:15), he began to bark. Now, I’ve had dogs all my life, so I am familiar with barking. But I have never experienced it at 6:00 in the morning from 5 feet away. How I longed for the day when Walter would be on my schedule, not his. I wish it were now!
But, if Walter were grown tomorrow, I would miss out on all the fun puppy things that he does. I wouldn’t get to play tug-o-war with him; I wouldn’t get to experience his wagging butt (it’s not just his tail that wags, it’s his whole back end!) pouncing on his toy du jour. I would miss out on so much if he grew up immediately, just like a parent who enjoys watching their child grow up.
I’m pretty sure that’s how God views our relationship with Him. How often we wish that we were spiritually mature right away! We get upset because we feel like we’re failing God by stumbling. Just as it gives me joy to give Walter help getting upstairs every night, so it gives God joy when He helps us. The Book of James talks a lot about spiritual maturity, but the first thing James speaks of is this (James 1:2-5):
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.”
God wants to help you because He’s interested in the Journey. How do you develop a long-lasting relationship with someone overnight? You don’t. Your closest friends are the ones that you have shared things with. You know all about each other, have been there for each other in the good times and the bad. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. We don’t become “Best Friends” with God overnight. There is a lot of growing that happens in a relationship, and most of it happens during the tough times. You can tell a lot about a relationship by how it weathers difficult times. If you have ever been in a dating relationship where there was no conflict, there wasn’t opportunity to go much passed the surface. I may not be a botanist, or even able to keep plants alive, but I do know that a plant’s roots will dig down deep into the soil until it is able to find water. It cannot remain shallowly planted, or it will not only topple when the slightest wind comes, but it will die for lack of nourishment. Part of our growing with God is dependence on Him for our nourishment. That means relying on Him in our weakness.
Walter is short, and he has a difficult time going up the stairs, so I routinely pick him up and carry him when it’s time for bed. But every time I go to pick him up, he runs away! He doesn’t understand that I’m helping him. How often do I do that with God? He draws beside me to pick me up and help me through a difficult phase, and I up and run away. I run away because I don’t want God to be angry with me for messing up, yet again. I hang my head in shame, trying to hide from the One who made me, because I “know” that I’ve disappointed Him. Being in a mature relationship means being real with one another. It means that you’ve stopped fronting and have started to share the not-so-good stuff with the other party. King David understood closeness with God.
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right–he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you–under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing–not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because GOD’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”
God enjoys the journey. He enjoys each moment because that means it’s time that He spends with you. You are His favorite topic of conversation, the apple of His eye. It is your artwork, your accomplishments that He proudly displays on His fridge.
If you get the chance, I recommend watching “A Snoodle’s Tale” by VeggieTales. The second half of the show is the actual “Snoodle’s Tale,” and I think that it has a message that everyone (babies AND big babies) needs to hear.