Real Faith for a Real Life in a Real World.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Being Ready

My dog was looking a little glum this morning as I was reading my bible and having a quiet start to the day. He didn't know what I had planned for him so, to cheer him up a bit, I decided to tell him.

Talking fairly quickly so he would not quite get everything and act prematurely, I told him that he was coming with me in the car and that I was taking him to spend the day with a friend of our's of whom he is particularly fond - but not yet, he would have to wait.

I could see from the expression on his face and the tilting from side-to-side of his head that he was listening intently, trying to make some sense out of the stream of noise I was producing. He got the word 'car' and our friend's name but, as I expected, missed and was a little bemused by all the padding.

Well, once I had stopped talking, you could see the cogs still whirling behind his eyes and the excited whine he suddenly emitted told me that he had worked it out. Of course, being a dog, and living in the moment, he missed the word 'wait' and wanted to do it now. He settled again as I read on but gave out a pleading, and sometimes demanding, whimper every so often, just to let me know that he hadn't forgotten what I had promised him and he wanted to get on with it! (No, I'm not imagining all this, he really is that bright.)

The time came to go, and his contained excitement exploded into action. He started crashing about the place while I tried to put his lead onto his collar, bit on his collar as I tried to pass it under his chin, jumped on me as I tried to put my shoes on and basically got in the way of all my efforts to prepare him for the journey. If he had cooperated calmly, we would have been under way sooner... Silly dog. But we did get there, in the end.

Unfortunately, Christians can be a bit like this. We hear from God about something he has planned for us but he leaves the picture a little hazy so we don't jump the gun. We don't get quite the whole picture but grasp enough to understand the general idea. Then we get all impatient and want to do it now, and start telling others what they should be doing (why is grace so often the first casualty?) before we have understood properly and they are anywhere near ready for it. Then the time comes and we try to do it ourselves and get in a right old tangle; unfortunately, we can do a lot of damage in the process.

So many moves of God have fallen into disregard and disrepute because of our immature behaviour. We get caught up in the excitement and forget the purpose. We think we are ready but he still has preparations to make. We decide we know what we are doing and miss the guiding hand of God; worse still, we think we are the only ones who know what we are doing and form factions. We even get in God's way and stop him doing what he wants to do. We think we've arrived but, really, it's only the next step in the journey.

Silly people. But he gets us where he wants us, in the end...