Thank you to the Unknown Author.
A friend of mine is a Puppy Trainer for the Guide Dog Association. She is an art teacher in the studio that is on the same property as our cottage and once a week she brings Jarvis with her. Last week, the dog galloped into our lounge, clearing out the old ginger cat who was lazing on the couch. My friend was close behind. I commented that this did not seem like a responsible Guide Dog and she said I should see him in his harness. When he wears it, he knows what is expected of him so behaves appropriately. Jarvis is only a Guide-Dog-in-training but that doesn’t get rid of his doggy nature.
I am a Christian-in-training. I have consented to be in Christ’s harness and I qualify for all the benefits He died to secure for me: forgiveness from sins, His presence and involvement in my life, guidance, His inexplicable peace, and eternal life where I can be forever with Him forever.
However, I am not perfect. My human nature, or sin nature, is never far away. I take comfort in Phil1:6 which says, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In this life I will never reach perfection, but I trust my trainer for “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13)
I am sure that Jarvis will become a wonderful Guide Dog, bringing independence to a sight-impaired person. His trainer knows what he is destined for and what he can become. Christ, my trainer, knows the purpose for which I was created and can help me fulfill that purpose and become the best version of myself.
I had a spare slice of time this morning so decided to go jeans shopping.
Last week I had been attracted by some jeans in a shop window advertised as “Wonderfit.” They have special features to make one look slimmer. Last year I bought some of the same make and they were very comfortable, so I was quite optimistic about my success. I tried a size 40 … much too big around the waist. The 38’s fitted snugly and were fine as long as I stayed standing. As soon as I sat down, they dug into my waist. Jeans are meant to be comfortable through all the activities of normal life.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
One of the translations for my yoke is easy, is my yoke is well-fitting, comfortable in all phases of the journey. The yoke is crafted specifically for us individually. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. No problems with fitting in some places and not others.
Notice Jesus doesn’t offer to remove our burdens but to give us rest. He invites us to submit ourselves to His yoke rather than the one we currently struggle under. His yoke is well-fitting, making the burden comfortable to carry. He will not put anything on us that we are unable to bear with His help.
I needed this reminder because I have been feeling over-burdened and overwhelmed recently. Perhaps when I wear my new trousers, I will remember it. (In the end I didn’t even get jeans but something more comfortable.)
Adult colouring books are not really my thing. I thought I’d give it a try (since everybody else was so enthusiastic about it) and bought myself a book. Well, I have half coloured one page. I saw a journal in a Christian book shop with bible verses and small pictures to colour on every alternate page and plenty of space to write so I considered I might manage that.
My daughter is an artist and taught me to blend with Aquelle crayons. “Use different colours,” she said, “and blend them together with your wet paintbrush”. It worked quite well for a non-artist.
It occurs to me that is what God does in a marriage or in a family. He uses different colours (people), puts them together artistically, and blends them making a more vibrant and dynamic picture. My husband and I are very different but God has managed to blend us together so the “Us” contains elements of each of us but also of a combination of both of us, making the whole more than the sum of the parts. In the hands of the Master, each marriage and family is an unrepeatable masterpiece.
It was a hot day. My husband, his sister, brother in law and I were in Cape Town for their step-mother’s memorial service. As we passed Steers, I decided to buy us all ice creams. I watched the friendly lady pull the lever on the soft serve machine and expertly twirl three ice cream cones. When it came to the fourth, mine, the machine gave a little prrrhp and spurted a last blob the size of a marble and stopped. The lady trotted off to the back and returned with a large plastic container of ice cream liquid. She put in about a third of the contents and tried the lever again. Understanding a little about the freezing process, I told her I would come back in five minutes. Five minutes obviously wasn’t long enough. She pulled the lever. She switched all the switches off and on. She opened and closed the door. she pulled the lever. Nothing. She got help. He switched off and on and opened and closed the door. No matter what they did, no ice cream came out of that orifice. Finally I got my money back and left ice-cream-less.
This was a parable for me. God is not an ice-cream machine and praying is not pulling a lever. Even if we try tricks that we have been told about, like fasting, or naming and claiming, sometimes our Father just wants us to be patient. Nothing we can do will speed up the process. At the time, the Lord had wonderfully undertaken for us in ensuring that my husband and I got cheap plane tickets and organised that the cottage which my brother-in- law rents out was vacant for two nights. (I can thoroughly recommend it, by the way.) We knew He was going to provide for another two nights but, although all four of us had sat on our cell phones for over three hours looking for accommodation that was reasonably priced and could accommodate us all, we still had nowhere to stay by that evening.
You will have guessed it. We were not left to sleep in the streets of Cape Town. We had another two lovely days together, exploring Kirstenbosch and Stellenbosch and interacting with family and friends.