October 13, 2013
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34
Our next door neighbor went to the animal shelter and adopted a dog: a dog with a history. For the first months of his life, that dog had been beaten and bruised, shouted at and left unfed for days at a time. Even though our neighbor knew that dog's history she adopted him anyway.
In an instant every aspect of that dog's life was completely changed.
When his new mistress spoke to him, it was with a kindly voice instead of sharp shouts. Now he was taken care of, fed, both regularly and richly. He was walked in the morning and the evening. He was patted, petted and scratched. In short, that dog was surrounded with love.
"Even so," my neighbor said, "it has taken years before that dog learned to trust me. Yes, he understood the food and the tone of voice. Those were good things. But there were other things which didn't seem to be all that good. I think it was almost impossible for my dog to grasp why I gave him baths, or why I took him to the vet to be prodded, poked and pinched.
"Eventually, I'm pretty sure he began to understand ... at least as much as any dog can get it. He knew when I showed up, it was a good thing. He knew if he messed up he didn't have to cower or cringe, and there was such a thing as forgiveness. I think the great revelation eventually came when he figured out that if I allowed something to happen to him, that is, something which hurt -- like a shot -- he still trusted I knew what was best. When he began to trust me that way, he was totally content to live in my house and trust his future into my hands."
Have you noticed there are many people who never reach the levels of understanding achieved by that dog? I've met more than one Christian who got upset with God any time something happened that he didn't like or agree with. These believers never trusted the Lord knew what was best.
Then there are the unbelievers who think all they are and have is of their own invention. They are so pleased with themselves they never notice their Master who daily gives them house, home, spouse, children, fields, cattle and all they need to support this body and life.
Worst of all, if you tell these folks, "The Master's Son died so you might live!" they will snarl, "I don't believe a word of it."
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
The truth is God loves us. He gives us that which we need for our bodies and our souls. His gifts are unending and they are always good. It is the wise and saved individual who understands his ongoing and overwhelming debt to the Lord.
When that understanding comes, like that pampered pooch in our story, God's people become totally content to live in the Lord's house and trust their future into His hands.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your manifold blessings which come to body and soul. Most of all, I rejoice in Your Son, who gave Himself so I can be forgiven of my sins and able to enter heaven. May others also be given such an attitude of gratitude. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries