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Friday, March 25, 2016

Life lesson from a dog with 3 and 3/4 legs

I was recently doing electrical work at a new home in the country. There were several dogs roaming the property inside and out.

It was cold outside and I was in the house waiting for the power company to show up. As I stood there, a German Shepherd came up to me with a tennis ball in her mouth. She dropped the ball right in front of me, eager to play.

The ball was covered with dog slobber, so I kicked it across the large concrete floor. Every bounce of the ball left a gooey wet spot as the slobber spun out of the ball.  

As she took off running, I noticed she kept one of her back legs elevated. If it did touch down to the ground, I could see it was very painful for her.

But here she came again and again - ball, slobber and eagerness  - despite the pain she was in.

This little game made me think about life. How easy would it be for her to just lay around in less pain than when she ran?

It's as though the thought never crossed her mind.

God created her to be playful and to run and to enjoy life. And she knew she could still do this despite a bad wheel. Her circumstances may have slowed her down, but they weren't going to stop her. 

"I'll wait 'til I'm 100%"

Sometimes we two-legged creatures tend to avoid doing things that involve pain in our lives. The pain could be emotional or physical or both. The pain could be major or minor.

We lay around, choosing to live a life with the least amount of pain. But this isn't a very satisfying life. The laying around can actually bring its own kind of pain - depression, guilt, loneliness, etc.

You can't avoid pain in your life. If you're alive, life will deliver pain right to your front door - free of charge.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, "Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I think we'd all agree. Each day has some trouble. Again, some of it's minor, some major. But there it is - every single day.

Will it stop you?

Image result for German shepherd images
♪♫ "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen ..." ♫♪
The dog wanted to chase the ball, which meant running, which meant being a little slower than she preferred, which meant putting up with pain from her damaged leg. To her, the positive outweighed all the negatives. So she played - and had joy.

She wasn't going to lay around 'til she was 100%.

Who's 100%? Nobody I know.

If you wait in life for the day that you're 100%, you'll eventually get there - when you're 100% dead. Not much joy in that.

Don't wait.

Jesus looked beyond the cross to the good stuff

Jesus knew severe pain was coming His way as His torture and crucifixion approached. But He also knew extreme joy was waiting for Him after the pain. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12)

The hardest part of His mission was over. He had painfully paid for the sins of the entire world. He's now with His Father in heaven experiencing joy.

Instead of going to the excruciating cross, Jesus could've avoided all that pain, sat on the couch and watched the Jerry Springer marathon on Fox TV. Much less pain - absolutely no gain.

He endured extreme emotional and physical pain for all of us, for Himself, and for His Father. Thanks Jesus.

Pushing through the pain of life benefits not only you, but those who care about you. They want you to have joy in your life. 

What joy lies beyond the trials you're facing?

There's something good for us when we overcome the pain we face.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

What's the good waiting for you in your situation? Look at your life. Maybe try a new perspective.

Image result for lazy German shepherd images
"It's just too hard out there!"
If you can't see it yet, ask God to open your eyes. Ask Him to give you encouragement along the road. Ask Him for wisdom - we could all use more of that. Keep your eyes open.

Sometimes we can't see or experience the joy until we start moving through the pain. Get going.

Focusing on the negative and the current pain is too easy, but not profitable. There's good to be seen, but sometimes it's a little more work.

Talk with your closest non-negative friends. They may be able to give you a perspective that you're currently blind to - a perspective that may make a world of difference.

Moving at the speed of life

For those who may be on the opposite end of the activity spectrum, maybe God is using a trial or some pain in your life to get you to slow down long enough to think a little deeper about your life.

Too often as we move at the speed of life, constantly doing stuff, we don't take the time to just stop and think. Here's some questions to get you started.

  • "Where am I heading?"
  • "Am I even on the right road in my life?"
  • "What can I do differently?"
  • "What am I doing well?"
  • "What can I do better?"
  • "What should I stop doing?"
  • "Have I forgotten God?"

Shut the TV off. Shut the radio off. Shut the cell phone off (yes, it actually has an "OFF" button). Get out of the house. Get away from all distractions ... and think.

The still, small voice of God can get drowned out by the constant noise we surround ourselves with.

God created you to enjoy life with Him regardless of your circumstances. He's near. He'll help. Let Him help you.

Will you overcome your pain, or will you be overcome by it?

I know you can be an overcomer and experience the joy set before you.


P.S. - I encourage you to read in the Bible what Jesus went through for you (see Mark 14:32-16:8). 


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