Never let anyone tell you that ABBA does not have a sense of humor! Never believe the lie that GOD cannot speak through you and touch others through you. In Scripture He spoke through a donkey. In my life here of late He has delivered a message to me through a barking dog! She’s our very own Sara Elizabeth.
When Sara arrived at our home I was overwhelmingly fond of her. Not surprising. We all love cute and cuddly, right? But cute and cuddly grows to big and loud with bad habits. Natural habits, but nonetheless bad; at least in my estimation.
Sara’s bad habit? Barking. She barks at a falling leaf. Well, not really; but close. And I have hated her for it.
One memory in particular: sick as a dog myself 🙂 head covered in bed with a headache and bathroom conditions and what is Sara doing? Sitting outside my bedroom window barking — for hours! And this disenchantment went on with me for our little Sara for a long time – longer that you probably need to know.
However, ABBA does not give us permission to hate anything, except sin, and He was not about to let me get away with my extreme dislike our little barking dog; nor was He of a mind to teach her to shut up. Although I am certain He could! We tried. An electronic collar. It curtailed her initially but she figured out how to move the collar to the side or she determined that barking was worth this discomfort. We tried vinegar and water spray. She learned the reason for it but again determined that barking was worth the discomfort.
Sara is a living illustration to me. It is her nature to bark. It is my nature to be annoyed, distracted, irritated and want her to shut up now!
To the message!
Sara teaches me both sides of the coin.
When Sara barks she is sounding an alarm. She is letting me know that something not right or at the least something out of the norm has come into view and she cannot be silent about it. She will brave discomfort and even my disapproval to keep sounding the alarm. Neither does she tire easily; she barks till the view is clear, taking a brief respite only when necessary to rejuvenate. She is faithful. She is consistent. And it is obvious to me that she is as extremely fond of me as I have been not fond of her.
I want to be like Sara.
Willing to brave discomfort, disapproval, even vinegar in the face, in order to keep sounding the alarm of things not right that present themselves in my world. To be faithful. To be consistent. To be extremely fond of those who are extremely not fond of me.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. via John 3:16 KJV – For God so loved the world, that he – Bible Gateway.
Let me see if I can pull this together.
Lets say that my barking Sara represents a Christian sounding the alarm of sin and God’s Judgement to the world’s people. And the world’s people are represented by me – annoyed, irritated, some filled with hate, even to the point of obsession to silence her. Do you get the picture? Do you get the message?
Now I had some choices, since it was obvious Sara was not going to shut up — like I said oh to be like Sara!! I could pray; I could make peace with Sara; I could come to understand why she barks; I could even with GOD’s help come to appreciate Sara’s faithfulness and her love for me to keep me safe from the not right. Or I could continue in my hatred for her and her message, and work myself into a crazed frenzy seeking a way to shut her up. Do you get the picture? Do you get the message?
Now to the other side of the coin.
This message came closely on the heels of it registering with me that I was no longer as annoyed with or as distracted by Sara’s barking as I had been. She was still barking but I was going about with my business and turning a dull ear to her. I was becoming sort of apathetic about it. She was still barking but I paid little attention to it.
Lets say now that Sara represents people; people hurt, wounded, hungry, cold, sick with disease, both physically and spiritually; people ‘barking’ their cries for help along with those ‘barking’ their defiance that they are not sinners in need of a Savior. And me? Who do I represent? The Christian Church who has been going about Her business, turning a dull ear; live and let live; keep your sins to yourself and go to hell if that’s what you want to do – I don’t really care, as long as you aren’t bothering me. Get the picture? Got the message?
Sara is quiet as I type now. The commotion next door has moved on; but I know my little sweetheart, she’s watching and when strange danger comes she will not shut up until it’s gone!
So, humor me. There are other analogies in this lengthy post that I am certain I have not fleshed out for us – do you see any? And will you share them with me on this 10th day of 2014?