Posted by: ritagone | June 12, 2013

Perspective is Everything!



I got to thinking of something from my dog Sherlock’s perspective the other day, and it illuminated for me how often we get things wrong about how God deals with us.  Okay, stop laughing long enough to hear me out.  Here’s the layout of the story:

Next month, our annual family vacation takes place at the condo Michael and I own in Idaho.  Michael is driving there while I stay behind for my Christian Associates board meeting; then I fly up to meet him.  Our daughter Dana and her family are on a roadtrip that will bring them to Post Falls, Idaho at the same time, so that by the end of that week, when we’re joined by our son Matt and his daughter Hannah, we will be together as a family for close to a week, a tradition that we all look forward to.  Michael and I decided that – with so many people going in and out the front door of the condo – there was a good chance that Sherlock, who loves nothing more than a chance to bolt and run, would do just that and get away from us, causing us great distress and grief, and perhaps great bodily harm to himself.  Added to that fact is that he doesn’t do well in the car for even short trips; he has a tendency to get car sick.

So we made the decision to board him with our groomer, who has the side business of boarding two or three dogs at a time in her ultra-safe dog-friendly home environment.  We’re taking Watson with us because she doesn’t bolt and because she is a good car traveler…and, quite selfishly, because I don’t like being away from both of my dogs if I don’t have to do so.

Now, imagine what will go through Sherlock’s mind when we drop him off at the place where he’s being boarded and drive off with Watson.  He will think he’s being abandoned.  He will think he’s not the favorite.  He will feel desolate.  He will not understand what is happening in his tiny dog brain.  Little does he know the love and care that have gone into this decision.  We are leaving him here because we want to protect him and keep him safe.

But he doesn’t know that.

To him, it feels all wrong.  He feels abandoned, left behind, unloved.  Unappreciated.  Unwanted.  All those negative emotions swirling around his little doggy brain as we drive off and leave him sitting in an unknown environment with strangers, wondering what he did to deserve this.  And probably also wondering why Watson got to go when he didn’t.  Why was she treated so special and he not?  Where is the fairness, the justice in all of this?

I imagine – and it breaks my heart that I can’t communicate to him the truth of the situation – that his little doggy heart will break.

Okay, I’m exaggerating.  Because I want to make a point, a great spiritual insight that you and I forget so often that we need whatever reminders can come into play to help us remember:

Often what looks like punishment or abandonment on the part of God in dealing with us is actually His loving embrace of grace and mercy and protection.

But we can’t see it because, first of all, we don’t have all the facts, and secondly, because we don’t see the bigger picture or we just don’t get it.

Like Sherlock, we think the worst.  Like Sherlock, we imagine all sorts of things that aren’t real, that aren’t the truth, and we let those imaginings get the best of us.

No wonder this life of faith is so difficult.  Believing the best when something looks the worst is nigh unto impossible.  Which is why we must keep our perspective where it belongs: on the fact that God is love.  That God loves me more than I can even begin to imagine.  That everything He does in my life is for my ultimate benefit in terms of growing me into a child of His.  Not necessarily to make me happy — sorry, Hollywood and romance novels.  This is not the ultimate goal of life: finding your own bliss no matter what.

So I’m going to try to relax in God’s care of me, just as I hope Sherlock will ultimately be overjoyed when we come to get him and bring him home safe and sound after our trip, knowing that we protected him in the best way we could.  Oh, he won’t know all the in’s and out’s of our decision, but he will surely feel our love and be thrilled to be back in familiar surroundings once again.

Me too.

That’s how I want to constantly feel about God’s love for me: safe and secure no matter what, and in familiar surroundings all the time.

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