Who Else Can You Really Trust?

The Dashwood sisters from the 1995 Ang Lee movie based upon Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

The Dashwood sisters from the 1995 Ang Lee movie based upon Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility

There was no way that I could have predicted this, but after writing about trust on Monday I discovered on Friday that trust was the theme for Five Minute Friday. Oh, no! What is a girl to do?

Enter my sister from stage right. Actually she entered from the door on the right, but now I have drama on my mind. I don’t remember what she came to tell me. I know it was only a few hours ago, but what she said wasn’t important. What she did set the wheels rolling in my mind. She had a dust mop and she swept the floor of my study while we talked.

After I had shared the trust that dogs have for us. I likened it to the trust we should have for God. I thought that I couldn’t find more to say on the subject of trust in one week. Who can you trust besides God and your dog? Your sister! For those who do not have a sibling that you have always been close to, you will have to think about a dear friend who has been like a brother or sister for you. You can trust a good sister.

In the book, Sense and Sensibility, Marianne and Elinor are close sisters who experience loss, injustice, grief, broken hearts and much more. They are very close friends despite the fact that they respond to the vicissitude of life in very different ways. Siblings teach us that we don’t have to agree with everything someone else thinks in order to love and care for them. Elinor, Marianne and their younger sister Margaret help one another through a period of upheaval because they have learned to trust one another.

My mother always stressed that everyone needs someone that they can trust to always tell them the truth. Sisters we were taught should stand with each other through good and bad times alike. My sister is someone I can trust to tell me the unvarnished truth, even if I don’t want to hear it. She will help me no matter what. She will also sweep my study floor if she is holding a dust mop and talking to me. That is another picture of true trustworthiness in my book, as well as Jane Austen’s.

This post is number nine in the series A Fresh Look @ Simple Things. It is also teaming up with the Five Minute Friday team at Kate Motaung’s. Check out what else is going on by following the links above.

Trust

This is post number 5 of the series A Fresh Look @ Simple Things.

Today’s theme is Dogs. They call dog, “Man’s Best Friend.” There is a quote that I like that says, “If you think a diamond is a girl’s best friend you never had a lap dog.” Statistics show that a high percentage of us have a dog. If we are open to the possibility the dog will gladly choose us for his or her best friend.

People are the ones who break up with dogs, they never abandon us. They have become ubiquitous across cultures for their absolute devotion to their people.

I am late sharing with you today because I put In strenuous morning hosting my Bible study. I have a very shy Maltese. I expected her to hang out with my cats in the study. She spent hours quietly lying on my lap while I led the Bible study. She followed me into the kitchen to prepare them lunch and then quietly waited in the dining room for the meal. They kept commenting on how she just lay there so quiet for hours on my lap. She is the ultimate lap dog. She remained with me so she had the courage to remain with my guests. My dog trusts me implicitly.

image

My dog trusts me to make the right decisions. All dog people wish they could be half as smart and brave as their dogs believe them to be. Shy baby will happily hop into her car seat and go anywhere with me.

 

image

All her fear disappears in my presence.

I had a friend tell me that as a young teen she sometimes felt the need to get away from her parents in the evening after  a stressful “discussion.” She told me she would take the big dog for a walk since they didn’t like the idea of her going out alone after dark. The dog had a yard and did not need a walk but it gave her time to walk off the teen angst. She saw the dog as a sign of protection. What surprised me was what she told me next. She said that the dog was afraid! She said the big baby leaned as close to her leg as she could get for the whole walk. Sometimes she could even feel quivers of fear travel through the dog’s body and up her leg. The dog never hesitated to go on those dark walks. The dog would look into her eyes with complete trust and faith. My friend said she realized that she was the grownup on those walks and while she trusted the sight of the big dog for her safety she was really the protector. They trust us!

A beautiful picture of trust and the love between dogs and people.

A beautiful picture of trust and the love between dogs and people.

I was thinking about the Apostle Paul traveling with Silas in Philippi. They were thrown into prison without trial after healing a slave-girl and thereby depriving her master of money. I love Acts 16:25. Not the part of the story with the earthquake, not the part where all the prisoners all refused to escape, not even where  the jailor and his whole family came to believe in Jesus. My favorite part of the story is where Paul and Silas are sitting in prison at midnight after being beaten and locked up. It sounds like a wretched predicament. In that appalling situation Paul and Silas were, ” praying and singing hymns to God.” How could they do such a thing as sing? Lament or rage as a form of prayer makes sense, but singing hymns! Paul and Silas trusted God. They had no idea what would happen next but they believed that the One traveling through the dark night with them was trustworthy. God actually used this brief imprisonment to enable Paul and Silas to reach more people in Philippi. Paul had a very successful ministry to the Philippians and wrote them a wonderful letter about God’s love.

Do I trust God enough to face the dark places in life with Him by my side?  I know I will never be all that my dog thinks that I am. The wonderful blessing of life with dogs is that they can teach us so much about what we ought to be. God is even better and far more able than I imagine Him to be. I really can go anywhere with Him. I could learn a lot about trust from dogs.

You Are Safe

Psalms 91:1-10


Assurance of God’s Protection

  

​You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.

I never tried to paint before. I have always been a seeker of beauty, a lover or art and a wondered at God’s glorious creation. I look at a tree or the sky and think about all the colors it would take to paint the scene, but I have never lifted paint to brush. 

In the book study on Spiritual Whitespace, author Bonnie Gray encouraged followers to pick a favorite verse write it on the page and illustrate it with watercolor. To be daring I tried this. I was inspired by the image of an eagle protecting it’s young. There was a now famous pair of eagles in Pennsylvania who valiantly protected their young through the winter snows. 

With no experience I did not consider that the paint of the eagle would cover over the verse beneath it. When I copied back over I transposed the terms Most High and Almighty. 

Anyway, I am sharing this because for me trying to paint was similar to other people jumping out of airplanes, or BASE jumping. I survived! I am using the fun of painting as a witness to God’s grace and goodness. What daring thing can you try to proclaim the glory of The Lord?

How Do You Define Success?

Merriam-Webster defines success this way,”favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.” I have been defining success as seeing my will accomplished. I hate to admit it, but that is what I have unconsciously done.

I thought that I had learned to surrender my life to God. The truth is I had released control of now to God, but I had hung on to expectations for the future. I called it hope for the future, but it was really my expectations to see my dreams fulfilled, my expectation that God would give me what I wanted someday, since He wasn’t giving me what I wanted right now.

I didn’t think I was making deals with God, but the effect of what I was saying to Him was, “You can do what you want with my life now as long as I end up getting what I want in the end.”

Lately I have found myself feeling a great weight upon my life. I couldn’t define the burden for quite a while. I am recognizing that the weight is the burden of disappointment that God did not give me the life I wanted. Naming the feeling has lifted some of the heaviness, but I know that I need to lay this boulder down at the foot of the cross.

I have been working, striving, carrying the future on my shoulders. I am Atlas again. Every time I think I have freed myself from the habit of transporting burdens that do not belong to me I discover I am unknowing hauling around another.

I have been defining the future and success. The future belongs to God and real success is following Jesus. Real success can’t be getting what I want. I am only human, finite and limited. I want to see God’s will accomplished. That is what we are all praying in the Lord’s Prayer when we say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ”

The intellectual side of me has long known this but alas, the “practical” side of me has been trying to “manage” things that are too big for any human. I have been trying to usurp God’s role when I demand that He gave me what I want. Every year I know more than I knew the year before. Why would I demand my own way when I will learn and refine my desires over time?

Real success isn’t getting the outcome I want. Success is learning to desire God’s outcome and the faith to trust that it is better than anything I could possibly dream up myself.

How have you been defining success?
Are you learning to value God’s plan more than your own?
How has He surprised you by leading you to places that surpass any you would have thought of on your own?