We live on a country road far from traffic. We do, however, have Barney. Barney is a German Shepherd of considerable size. Even I think so. And when Barney barks, people listen! Normally, Barney is a very friendly dog, but on this occasion, he took our walking past his turf as a personal insult. Terrified, Max scrambled over to me and began jumping on my leg, begging me to pick him up.
“You’re fine,” I repeated over and over, but Max would not be mollified. Not until I held him in my arms, snug against my body, did he finally stop shaking. What Max didn’t realize is that I had no intention of letting that big ole German Shepherd harm him. I was ready to protect him, and watched Barney carefully to make sure he didn’t come near. And then I realized how much like Max the children of God are.
We walk alongside God, content with the way things are, enjoying the view, until something big and scary happens, and then all our faith flies out the window. "God help me! Where are you? Why didn’t you protect me?" we cry. When all along, God stood ready, one eye upon the storm, and one eye upon His child. I can almost hear Him…
“Didn’t you know? I was beside you all along! I had no intention of letting anything harm you, beloved, only that which will strengthen you, and build you up.”
That is, after all, the nature of our God.
Jeremiah 31:9-11 (New International Version)
9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10 "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' 11 For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.