Trusting Jesus, that is all.

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2

Casper

My dog Casper hates combs.

He even knows the word “comb”, and when it is spoken he cringes and sinks to the ground in sadness.

Casper is a Coton de Tulear and he has very thick, very fine fur. Traditionally, a Coton’s hair is allowed to grow out until it almost reaches the floor, and when I first met Casper his breeder informed me that I would need to comb him out at least twice a day. Once Casper and I got settled together, and I learned how much he hates being combed, I had all of his hair cut short and we both have been happier for it. However, in spite of the shorter hair, he still develops knots that periodically need to be combed out. We both dread it.

Yesterday I warned Casper, “I’m getting the comb. We have to comb your coat.”

CasperHe curled into a tiny ball on the floor.

I got the dreaded comb out and called him. He slowly creeped, belly on the floor, his tail between his legs, toward me. He stopped by my feet and ducked his head to be picked up. I settled him in my lap and started with the “easy” parts: his face and his back.

We did ok until we got to the “hard” parts behind his ears and under his legs. Every time a matte caught in the comb he gave me a look with those big brown eyes. “Do we have to do this?” As careful as I am, there are always points when he yelps at a knot caught and pulled unexpectedly, and the session usually ends with him growling and turning to bite- not me- but the comb. He bites it viciously as I try to gently pull the knotted fur out, and he periodically licks my hand as if to say, “I’m sorry about fussing over this.” The hand that causes him pain is the very same hand that helps him, and he endures the one because of trust in the other.

If any of you attempted to comb Casper, the scene would play out differently. He probably wouldn’t come and allow you to lift him on your lap, and if you forced him to do it he would bite you, not the comb.

It’s trust that makes the difference. Casper and I have a 5 year history of long walks, hours of playing catch and cuddles of comfort during scary fireworks seasons. I love him and (as far as I can tell!) he loves me. I would never do something to hurt him without good reason, and he has learned over time that he can trust me. When I do hurt him with that dreaded comb, he submits to it even though he cannot possibly understand that I’m doing it to prevent bigger knots that would hurt worse.

It reminds me, as so many things do, of my relationship with God.

I’ve known and loved God most of my life. Together we have journeyed through all sorts of times. Early on, I panicked in the hard times- I wondered if He would be there, if things would turn out ok, and if the pain He allowed was really necessary. I still panic sometimes, and cry out in pain at the circumstances He allows in my life. But I love Him, and I know He loves me. We have a history, and looking back I can see that He (over and over!) has brought about His very best plan over the years. Will I submit to His will, even when it involves pain? Will I thank him for the pain that causes growth in and around me, or will I fight His hand and complain?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

He loves me.

He is the very essence of good.

Some days I can hear His voice saying- this is going to be a rough road ahead, we have some knots to work out together, and it will be much better to work these out now, before they get bigger and more painful. But I’m here, and I will be so gentle with you. You can trust me.

And I do. I have learned that I can trust him.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

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Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

 

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