Yesterday at the animal hospital, my dear friend and wonderful boss, Mary, gave me a challenge. In the upper row of cages in CCU there lay a very sick terrier. He was so thin, and weak; his owners saying the day before, that the dog had simply collapsed. We had just finished doing rounds, the night shift handing over to the day shift, when I hear Mary exclaim, “We’ve got a problem! We’ve got a real problem!”
One glimpse at the cage and there was no doubting exactly what the problem was in the terrier’s cage. Sorry to be so graphic, but there was sticky and smelly poop everywhere! I mean, everywhere! This was the worse smell I had come across at the hospital thus far. I gagged and my eyes watered. Mary was right there gagging with me.
She picked up the dog, I unhooked it from its IV, and the massive task of cleaning began. There was poop all over the dog, in its hair, on the mat where it lay, even in the door of the wire cage. Mary removed the door to wash it. The mat was removed. A bath was given to the dog. It was not a task that one hopes to have at 9:00 in the morning!
While we were cleaning, Mary laughs and says to me, “I have a challenge for you; write a blog about this!” We laughed amidst the smell and the mess. Soon enough, the little dog had survived her cleaning ordeal and was laying once more in a clean cage. The dog was exhausted. (We were, too!) The little dog didn’t help its own case by all the wiggling it did. “Be still,” Mary and I would coax the dog. The situation was bad enough but the squirming certainly did not help.
That’s when the thought came: We get ourselves in messes. We want out. We want our troubled world to know peace again. We want lack of direction to suddenly point the way. Instructions on how to get through these ordeals is found in Psalm 46:9-10, “He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; He burns the shields with fire. Be still and know that I am God!” If we would just quit wiggling about in our fear, squirming in distrust, we would see that God is most capable of cleaning up our mess, no matter how difficult we may have made things for ourselves.
When the dog finally got cleaned, she lay in sweet exhaustion and slept. It’s the same for us. When we finally quit fighting and start trusting, we, too, can relax in our Father’s presence. Fighting our fears only makes the situation worse; trusting in stillness, is always a more peaceful option.