"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."
Many mornings I wake up and make my way to the dining room table where I sit in quietness with the Lord. I pray; I read His Word; I read a daily devotion; sometimes I journal and write down verses on index cards for reference and memorization. Other times, I sing or just sit and listen. I laugh; I cry; I confess; I wrestle out loud; I question; I praise; I surrender. Often times, I am interrupted in this sacred session by big brown, needy eyes and a husky, furry paw tapping on my knee. I look down to see Buddy, our springer spaniel, my faithful companion of 9 months now.
One day in particular, in the midst of my interrogation of the Lord's timing in my life, (As if!), the sight of Buddy overwhelmed me. I remembered back to the last Christmas season when I was debating over whether or not I should surprise the family with a new puppy. I searched and found a couple of cute, little options; however, the load and stress of homework, papers, and finals for my college classes greatly distracted me. I decided to bypass the puppy option and told my family what I had thought about doing. At that point, they were rather ticked off at me; I really disappointed them with my decision to not get a puppy. They thought I was being a real Scrooge!
So then, what else could I do but get down to business with the puppy search?!? Much to my dismay, all the precious puppies were spoken for; Santa had snatched them all up to take to other families. Major bummer for me--lots of fun for them! I went to bed on Christmas Eve's eve--December 23--praying, begging, pleading for some insight, for just a little hope that could come in the form of a canine. It went something like, "Couldn't You, Lord, please, do this for me if You won't answer me on anything else?" Honestly, my faith in Him due to what seemed to be unanswered prayers from my standpoint at the time was rather small and stagnant. I was bracing myself for more of His quietness, thinking that I just needed to get used to disappointment. After all, it was all my fault anyway, for letting the matter go.
But, oh for the great love and mercy of God! The next day, Christmas Eve, my phone rang at noon. It was a nice man asking me if I was still interested in a puppy, because someone had just backed out of taking him. "Him?" I asked. I was really wanting a playful, cuddly male to go with our two females. (Yes, they are all fixed! Ha!) So, guess what surprise my unsuspecting family came home to that evening? The cutest, chunkiest, lazy-eyed, soft-headed, sweet-smelling, little puppy that you ever did see was sitting under our Christmas tree! "Buddy!" That's the named that poured out of my husband's heart and seaped through the huge grin on his face the second he laid eyes on our new baby.
My Buddy--I like to call him Buddy Love, because he loves to be loved on, and I love to love on him. He's a stinker, though. I've got bleached out spots all over my bedroom carpet from him ripping into a bottle of lotion that contained benzoyl peroxide; I walked out in the backyard yesterday to find the stuffing everywhere from, yet another, toy that he carried out in his enormous jowls and destroyed; while outside, I stepped in one of several holes with which he's decorated the yard; and, I noticed that the back door is just about shredded because he thinks there should be no barrier to his nearness to us. But, I still love him so much.
When I get onto him for misbehaving, he hangs his head and then soon moves in close to sit at my feet just waiting for approval. When I sit down, he comes to sit in my lap. When I sing praises to the Lord, he stares at me and tilts his thick head from side to side. When I cry, he draws near and sniffs my salty cheeks. When I get busy, he waits for me to notice him. If I am inside, he wants to be inside; if I go outside, so does he. When I pet him and then stop, he reaches out his paw and pets me until I start rubbing him again. When I'm at the computer typing away, he comes and drops a soggy, slobbery stuffed turtle on my arm. (That really just happened. Ugghh!)
And that lovely day, when my faith was stretched and I was struggling to make sense of God's timing and involvement in my life, Buddy just came and sat quietly beside me. I remembered instantly upon seeing him, the gift that God gave me in Buddy. He was an answer to a very simple prayer when all I could do was call upon His Name for help. My Jesus hears me, and He answers my prayers-- both large and small, in His timing. He can move swiftly, or He can takes His own sweet time, whichever He deems best. Most certainly, the Lord could move any mountain for me in a heartbeat, but He'd usually rather spend time on growing my faith and expanding my knowledge of Him so that I learn to trust Him enough to move mountains in and through me--one by one.
Sometimes, though, He brings you a Buddy to remind you of His love, faithfulness, compassion and goodness, even when you are having doubts, usually amidst your doubts. During the waiting and all the confusion, it's so important to just keep asking, to keep seeking, to keep reaching, and to keep on believing, if only with the little faith and energy you may have. He is there, and you need Him desperately! Sooner or later, He'll bring you a Buddy, and, don't forget, buddies can come in different forms. This cherished gift may certainly try your patience and interfere with your comfortable lifestyle by demanding your time and attention, but he, too, will deepen your ability to see outside of yourself and love beyond your self-imposed borders. He will ultimately point you to your perfect Heavenly Father, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and cause you to love more like Him!
For me in that season, He brought Buddy. What about you? How has the Lord sustained or reminded you of His nearness and goodness in a season of waiting, in the wilderness, so to speak? Are you seeing Him in your everyday life--in people, places, or activities? And, how does His simple, everday participation in your life spur you to love? If you feel led--please share. (I would do so now to avoid that "nagging nudge" of His. Just kidding, see prior post!)