The last puppy we brought home turned out to be quite disappointing.
And then she grew up, had a litter of puppies, and after shipping 3 off to willing recipients, the remaining puppy turned out to be even more disappointing than its mother. The mother, you see, barks for only two reasons. First, when we come home from anywhere. Yes, very silly dog, really. And second, when it is about to be fed, it barks in excitement. The rest of the time, it cannot be bothered.
But its puppy is worse. Chalk it up to some emotional and physical trauma. It got beaten up soundly by its emotionally unavailable father, and since then, it’s been afraid of us. Talk about daddy issues and misplaced fear. You can’t touch it, you can’t even look at it. The sad thing is, it got a bad leg in the beating so whenever it tries to run away from us, it would literally tumble down over itself and fall. If it wasn’t so pitiful, it would be hilarious. All right, it is hilarious. I would actually deliberately scare it to make it run. The puppy made it so easy. A lot of times, we didn’t even have to try. It would start running away with its crooked leg even before we realised it was there. So ridiculous. And like its mother, the only thing it liked was food. Yes, past tense because thankfully, very thankfully, it died, prompting me to meditate on the lessons of its short life.
For one, fear is crippling. It makes you do stupid things.
This is why the enemy’s tactic is fear. He growls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour. Like a dog whose bark is worse than its bite, he just growls, because the devil has no real power. But if he can convince you to be afraid and distrustful of how much you are loved, then he can sit back and watch you self-destruct. That is why he has to look for victims. Not everyone is a candidate for his fear tactics.
Which is why faith is not a feeling.
Faith is believing what God says about you, hook, line and heaven! And because fear is the opposite of faith, and both come by hearing, it begs the question, what have you been listening to? What have you heard that makes you fearful?
Some people have a warped view of God. Like the unfortunate, harassed puppy that was beaten up by its jealous dad and blamed us for it even though we were the ones who fed it, we sometimes attribute a bad experience to God and blame Him for our situation when He is actually the One who wants to save us from all our troubles.
And right at this point, it will be easy to go down the labyrinth of theology to ask why bad things happen and why God allows bad things to happen. And honestly, I’ve got answers for those. Starting with the fact that we might be asking the wrong question. But like I said, perhaps we’ll do the theology another time because I prefer relationship to theology. Remember the testimony about Peter and John? The Sanhedrin noticed that they were normal, unschooled men who spoke with authority.
So in the end, what resonates the most in my heart and has calmed every stray thought and diverted every stray bullet of the enemy is this: God is good. Simple. Imagine how good He is that the Bible describes Him as LOVE, perfect goodness. And I choose to believe in that. Even when bad things happen, He will deliver me from them, He will turn it around for my good. My choice is not to question His goodness but to expect His goodness.
And think about this; if the Lord loves you perfectly, then guess who has perfect hatred for you? The devil. So don’t give him a foothold. Believe that God is good and all the time and even when the shots are fired, they will fall off like paper pistols.
Case in point- when I sprained my back so bad I was stuck in bed for days. And lying down on my bed, it was easy to go down the path of self-recrimination and pity. How will the house run itself? Will I drown in pain? Why did this happen? What about work? All the hospital visits. But I thank God for His faith. I just saw the situation as shots fired and honestly, it’s been a wonderful time of Jesus-reflection for me. And it sounds ridiculous but I’m so excited about my life, about the future in ways I could only tell you about over a cup of tea (yes, it’s “winter” in Accra now!).
So, is it going to be fear or faith?
Just remember the puppy and choose faith over fear because Your Heavenly Father loves you.
Stay high on grace.