Many of you have become familiar with frequent mentions of my dog, Jack. He is loveable, funny, affectionate. I so enjoy our walk times together. I let him choose his routes around the neighbourhood. It’s always interesting to see which way he decides to go each day. I watch for danger which mostly comes in the shapes and sizes of vehicles cruising the streets. I also keep an eye on Jack’s sniffing pleasures. Once in a while he sniffs out something, that to him is most desirable, but to me, it’s disgusting. No way am I allowing Jack to put in his mouth some of the things his nose discovers. I pull him away. He looks up with questioning eyes. I pull again to continue our walk. He glances back at the treasure he is leaving behind. Pleading eyes stare up at me. “No, Jack,” I announce. He recognises the tone of voice and gives in. In just seconds he is happily trotting along, a spring in his step, the episode of denial forgotten. There are more treasures to search out.
As we walked away this morning with just such a “no” from me, I began to think about the times that our Heavenly Father says, “no,” to us. What we desire seems so good. We have viewed it from all sides. We declare it right for us. We go for it, but it doesn’t come our way. We turn to God with pleading eyes, begging in our hearts, telling ourselves that if we keep on asking, He will grant our request, but it doesn’t happen. Over and over the answer is, “no.” Do we, like Jack, finally accept, and move happily along to pursue what else is out there? Many times, I think not. Too often we are all guilty of spiritual pouting. We feel let down by God. He should have given in to our pleading, we reason with our limited knowledge, and imperfect understanding.
If I can see, in my love for my dog, that sometimes I must say, “no,” then why can’t we understand that our Father, in His love for us, must also, at times, say, “no.” He sees what we do not see. In fact, He sees into every day — past, present, and future. He knows if what we receive today will be good for us tomorrow. In His immeasurable love for us, with His desires for our good all the time, can we not trust what He sees? Can we not continue to trot forward with happiness in our every step, even when He says, “no?” Would we want any less revealing of His love and care for us?
There is a lovely verse in Psalm 55:22 that reads, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” To accomplish that level of care for us, sometimes He must pull back on our harnesses, keeping us away from what will harm us, because that which looks great in our eyes, in His eyes is danger. In His love and protection, He says, “no.”