Deuteronomy 10:12-13a – And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees. (NIV)
My dog Sophie is such a joy. When we are walking the trails with my granddaughters in the double stroller, the dogs know that there is always one path that we never take, as it is inaccessible with the carriage. It is a trail that the dogs especially enjoy as it rises up quite high over the rocks and also extends our walk by a good twenty minutes, giving them extra time to explore and run.
But when we don't have the girls with us, choosing the dogs' preferred trail is a definite option, and they know it, as they bound ahead in anticipation. Four of the five dogs normally charge ahead and are well on their way down the path by the time I arrive close to the trailhead. But not Sophie. Sophie always waits until she sees me. She then runs back and stands looking up, questioning whether we are, in fact, going to take that trail today. If I give her the go-ahead, she is off in the blink of an eye. But if the answer is no, she accepts my decision and happily falls in beside me.
In the meantime, when they hear my call, the other dogs have to backtrack down the path and catch up with Sophie and me, as we have proceeded in a different direction.
Backtracking is not limited to my canines, however, as I, too, have not always stopped and waited at the checkpoints of life to see which way God would have me travel with Him. Sometimes, those checkpoints have been in regard to small, everyday decisions which require minor backtracking. But other times, they have been in major ways which required years of backtracking time as well as pain.
How about you? Do you find yourself rushing down pathways that you desire to travel, without respectfully stopping at the checkpoint of a decision to ask God which is the best way to go in regard to His will, His service, and His love — and then, unfortunately, regretting the way that things turn out?
Or are you pretty good about halting at the checkpoints and seeking God's will, but then, when His answer is no, instead of embracing it happily and joyfully proceeding with Him, you accept His decision with bad grace, which in turn spoils that part of your journey?
If you're anything like me, you probably have experience in both of these areas. But this doesn't mean that we can't improve and become more like Sophie, who, of all of my dogs, shows me the most respect, love, service, and obedience, something that I deeply love and respect about her. For they are qualities that I hope and pray that we are all learning to exhibit more faithfully daily toward God, qualities that not only will bring us more joy in our relationship with Him, but also will bring Him more joy in His relationship with us.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You are always patient and loving with us, even when we fail to stop at the checkpoints of life to seek Your will and way for us. Remind, enable, and encourage us through Your Holy Spirit to continue to grow in faithfulness in regard to respecting, obeying, loving, and serving You with all our heart and soul. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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