I have a good sniffer on me alright, just like any good old dog, but my sniffer sometimes catches a whiff of something from the world that smells like exactly what I’m seeking. So I find myself at the foot of altogether too many trees looking for my needs to be met. I am quite sure I am not alone. I believe, in fact, that I am surrounded by people who are barking up trees that look like wonderful providers – but clearly are not.
The examples are endless, and surely I am not alone. Did you know a job is not your provider? God is. God may provide through a job, or He may provide another way altogether. Did you know a boyfriend or girlfriend is not the provider of the love that you need? God provides the only love that satisfies 100% of the time and forever. He may provide some of His love through a boyfriend or girlfriend. He also may not. But He is the ultimate source of perfect love. How about food? Did you know the grocery store is not your food provider? God is. He may provide through a grocery store, or He may provide through a farm, your neighbor, or a nearby restaurant.
This all seems rather simple and obvious, doesn’t it? But then why do so many of us still find ourselves barking up the wrong trees? I don’t know about you, but I can speak for my dogs. Abigail, who is particularly fond of chasing birds and squirrels when given the opportunity, becomes so set upon obtaining a specific squirrel that nothing – absolutely nothing – will deter her from getting that exact squirrel. Even if 10 squirrels are off to her left side, or 10 birds flying by her right side, she becomes so determined to get the one squirrel in her vision that she will not consider the others. Sometimes I am amused watching her bark up the tree to get that one squirrel while she misses all the opportunities around her. Other times, I am impatient as I wait for her to realize life is more than barking up the wrong tree.
Sound familiar? I often find myself barking up the wrong tree, bound and determined to obtain the provision I have convinced myself I need from that very source. Meanwhile, the Lord is lovingly, patiently waiting for me to remember that He is my provider and that He will provide how, when, and where He desires.
If I would just remember He is my provider of everything I need, I would stop barking up the wrong tree. In fact, I would stop barking at all. Why? I wouldn’t need to aggressively go chasing after something I am convinced I must have when I realize that I can rest and trust in Him that He will provide on His own terms.
Imagine how happy the trees would be to know that all of us who spend so much time barking up the wrong ones would give them a break.
Imagine how happy the Lord would be to watch His children totally trust in Him.
Imagine how blessed we would be to not expend so much wasted energy on barking up the wrong trees.
Today, I will do my best to rest and trust in God – and to give the trees a break. In fact, I will wear a bark collar today in the event I should start barking up the wrong tree again. The shock will remind me that the Lord is my provider – and in Him, and through Him, I have all I will ever need.
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55 KJV)