I don’t think my little dog, Carrie has very good eyesight. The other evening, just as it was getting towards dusk, she started barking and whining at the picture window that looks onto the front yard. It was her “cat whine” and she was desperate to be let out to chase what she thought was a cat out from under the front bushes (she clearly hasn’t learnt from the scratches she got last time!).
I looked and saw that it was just a piece of junk mail that had got trapped under the bush, not a cat. I tried to tell her, and then to ignore her, but the dog was insistent that she needed to be let out to deal with the intruder. Eventually I put down my book and got up to let her out – sure enough she rushed under the bushes only to find that the cat was a cat-alogue! She sniffed all around just to make absolutely sure that a feline was not anywhere in the front garden and then conceded to come inside.
“I told you so” isn’t very satisfying when said to a dog!
But it did make me think that sometimes I too get a bee in my bonnet about something that I want, or want to do and pray fervently for that thing to happen. I insist that I know what is going on, that my perception of the situation is correct and that nothing is going to change my mind.
I think sometimes, like I did with Carrie, God says “OK, I know you’re wrong but go and find out for yourself.” He allows us to make the mistake or experience the disappointment because we are being so pig-headed about the issue. Carrie probably didn’t understand me saying that the shape under the bushes wasn’t a cat (all she heard was ‘cat’!) but there are times I have just refused to listen to contradictory advice or warnings from God’s Word or His people about something I was stubborn about – and of course I ended up being hurt and wasting effort and time.
There is a verse in the Books of Psalms that I think is one of the scariest in the Bible. It concerns God’s dealing with the Israelites in the desert, when they moaned about the food and demanded meat. “They did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness” according to Psalm 106 so, says verse 15 “He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul.”
That terrifies me! The thought that God might give in to my demands that some physical, carnal, temporary request be fulfilled, but at the cost of my spiritual health and my relationship with Him. That is why – realising that I understand God’s purposes and plans about as well as my dog understands quantum physics – I now always pray, as Jesus did, “This is what I want … ‘but not my will but Thine be done’.”