Thursday, July 22, 2010

Being Kept On The Short Leash

"So that I would not become too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me, a painful physical problem (literally, "thorn in the flesh") was given to me. This problem was a messenger from Satan, sent to beat me and keep me from being too proud. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you." So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ's power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NCV)

We're attending "Puppy Kindergarten" with our new dog for the next 6 weeks. This adorable canine needs to be monitored at all times to make certain he's not getting into any trouble, and to assure he is growing into the well-behaved companion we've been looking forward to having in our family. In fact, this week, our "homework" is to keep him hooked up to us as we go about our living activities in the house and see what his weak spots are as far as behavior goes. Is he tempted by socks? Does he like getting into the bathroom garbage? When we keep him on the short leash, we can learn what behaviors we need to break or shape.

Laughably, I'm not unlike that precious pooch! I need to be kept on the short leash too, to keep me out of trouble.

It seems that in our family life we barely get our heads above water and another wave washes over us. We have gone from multiple miscarriages and infertility treatment to five incidents of joblessness in less than a decade. We've endured severe hemophilia and anxiety in one child as well as ADHD, severe allergies and sensory issues in another child, all while mom is having five surgeries within a two year time span. Loss of family members, school troubles and car troubles have all peppered our experience. Sounds depressing, doesn't it?

Yet, I would tell you that we generally live joy-filled lives! When God keeps you on the short leash, you can either growl and bite at him or you can enjoy the amazing places He's taking you. Through our trials, we are ever aware of His presence. We see His fingerprints all over our lives. It takes our maladies to see His miracles! It's as if we have a front row seat to watching Him work.

God has allowed us the great privilege of seeing Him operate in situations that are utterly hopeless, but by God they have been turned around. There should be no reason we should still own our home, but here we are. We should be bitter about life, but our humor is stronger than ever. We find ourselves grateful for much that's taken for granted by others. And the simple things in life bring us great pleasure.

Now does this mean that we enjoy or desire all of these challenges? Are you kidding me? I wouldn't wish most of this on my worst enemy! But as they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. In retrospect, we can see that God has allowed everything He has for our good and His glory.

He also knows that if I weren't on the short leash, I might become overly self-sufficient, thinking I can dictate how every little aspect of my life goes and just disregard my need for God. I might become more enamoured with this life than with my eternal life. I might put things before people or think I'm better than someone else. If this is what I can potentially see in myself, I can only imagine what else He can see in me!

Yes, while not always easy, being held close to God's side is a good place to be indeed.

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