Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
I have a dog named Simon. He is a faithful old beast that adores me despite my inconsistencies. You will always find him in whatever room I am in. When I pull out of the driveway he settles himself in front of our large window, head resting on the windowsill, until I return. When I go upstairs he sits at the base of the stairs waiting for me to return to him. His eyes are always on me. His awareness always takes my presence into account.
In the not so distant past my old friend was due for his distemper shots. Simon is not a fan of shots. I placed his soft muzzle on him and trotted off to the vet with him. We sat off in the corner of the waiting room and he watched me with his big, brown eyes. When we were called in I lifted him onto the examination table as his eyes bore into mine. As the needles came out he began to fidget, eyes taken off of me. While the vet took care of business I got down real close to his face and I looked him straight in those eyes that were filled with fear. Locking eyes with him, I whispered over and over, “You’re ok.” The fear in his eyes ebbed away as we locked glances. He was ok, as long as I told him he was ok.
My faithful friend taught me a lesson about my relationship with God that day. I had to question myself:
Can I feel when the presence of the Lord is missing? Make no mistake, Simon always knows when I am gone. When I don’t take my daily time with God, when the schedule demands more and my private time is less, do I feel the absence of that daily relationship?
Am I always aware of the presence of God in my every moment? Simon’s well being is actually filtered through my presence. What if my every moment was filtered through the presence of God? Would fear be allowed to settle?
When I am afraid where do my eyes settle? Simon draws comfort from my strength. Do my eyes settle on the problem, or on the one who holds my answers?
Do I trust God more than I fear the circumstances? Simon’s trust in me is absolutely complete. No matter what is happening around him, if I tell him he is ok, he settles and his breath comes easier. His absolute trust in me trumps any fearful situation.
What if I were to trust in God the way Simon trusts in me?
Could I be strong like Simon?
Scripture promises us that we are never left alone or forsaken. In order to trust the God that loves us, we have to know the faithfulness of God that goes before us. What if we kept a gratitude journal, writing down the countless blessings that are showered over us each day? When we come to know the character and nature of God in the good times, we can depend on Him when tough times hit. I can be strong, like Simon, because my Father bends down real close to my ear and whispers to my soul, “You’re ok.”
Jesus, Thank You for going before me. Help me to shift my perspective, trusting in You more than I fear the circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.