“But God – “
God, being the perfect gentleman, didn’t retort, “Don’t give me no lip, girlfriend.”
God, being perfectly loving and perfectly patient, waited while His Holy Spirit convicted me. This time, it didn’t take any words. I knew what I needed to do.
Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon gave me the look, “Mom, take me on a walk.” My flesh wanted to do just that. Which way should I go? Go lie down? Or take a walk? After years of throwing God’s instructions to me back in His face, or at the very least resisting Him to no end, I am trying my best these days to do as He says – without the big debate. Imperfectly, mind you. But I’ve come a long way.
“Sorry, Mr. Simeon,” I told my dog. “God told me to go lie down.”
Considering the yelling I had done over the course of the past few hours – a few shouts here and there over dog pee in the house, a new mud hole in the yard, and so on – I am not surprised Mr. Simeon did not resist me. More than likely, all 16 of Walk by Faith Ministry’s mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs couldn’t have been more pleased that I had decided to go lie down.
No sooner did I flop down on my big ole’ belly on the bed with my head leaning off the end in my new favorite position to read did God have something to say. So much for getting the rest I figured He wanted. I grabbed my “God’s Notebook” and began to write as He spoke.
God spoke to me about trusting Him, understanding Him, His love versus human love, the message He wants me to preach, and the calling He has on my life. Rest? Not a chance. Not then anyway. Not even now, as I write.
See, God wasn’t just calling me to a time out because He knew I was impatient with the dogs and raising my voice with them because I was tired from a long, albeit wonderful, day. He had a purpose. He had something important to tell me.
God’s time outs are a lot different than I imagine lots of parents give their kids. God didn’t want to punish me for my crankiness. He wanted to love and teach me. He wanted to speak to me, to help me to grow, to direct me in His ways.
In a world in which so many people are so-called “crazy busy” and in which so many people are stuffing God into nooks and crannies in between ever increasing activities and ever more hectic schedules, it’s a wonder we remember to take time for God at all. I don’t know about anybody else, but I love the Lord way too much to keep Him any lower on my priority list than number one. And, when I fall short in this, I am thankful that He willingly reminds me to get Him back up in first place where He belongs – even if it takes a time out to get me to do just that.
Need a time out? Make God your number one priority. Nobody, and nothing, in the universe, deserves first place like He does.