“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
Monday through Friday, I have the glamorous job of selling pet food for Nestle Purina. Love my job! Love the flexibility that comes with my job and I really love my six weeks of vacation! And I love my spoiled puppies!
My job often requires overnight travel to exotic places like Wichita, KS, Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE. So I leave Sam and Charli at home to fend for themselves. And yes, I have a doggie door so they can come and go as they need. (Sometimes they actually make it outside … sometimes not so much! Don’t ask – just always know wiener dogs have to be the most-strong-willed-dogs EVER!)
As I prepared to travel out of town this week, I poured water and food into bowls – enough for three days, just in case I got delayed. My kibble of choice is Purina’s Pro Plan brand – one of our shredded formulas. Shredded as in it contains both “hard” and soft kibbles. ( I’ve gotta get my plug in for Purina … best dog food on the market…all dog food manufacturers can’t claim that they feed seven out of seven of the Westminster group winners including Best in Show.) Buy Purina – I could use a raise! Okay, done with the plugging.
I returned home to find that not only had Sam and Charli eaten, they had eaten out of all three bowls. The only problem being they had picked out the soft kibbles and left the “hard” kibbles behind. So I combined the three partially eaten bowls into one and placed it back on the mat next to their water bowl in anticipation that they would return and eat the leftovers!
But not so much! Later that night as I sat on the couch studying, Charli proceeds to go into the kitchen and begins rattling the kibbles around in the bowl. A few seconds later she comes and stands in the doorway and whines which is her cue of letting me know that the bowl is empty.
I laid my Bible and study book down to go re-fill the bowl only to find it full of “hard” kibbles. The spoiled heifer dog wanted me to add a new scoop of food containing more soft kibbles! So after three or so re-plays of the whining, Charli finally surrendered and returned to eat the remaining “hard” kibbles. (Donna – 3 points; Charli – 0 points!) And I returned to my spot on the couch to resume studying.
As I picked up my Pure Growth study book, it fell open to a mid-way point; a spot in the book that I had supposedly moved past – a spot in the book where questions should have been answered – but I was seeing white space! Like Charli and Sam, I had moved past the “hard” kibbles leaving them unanswered – uneaten! And I’m ninety-nine percent sure whining was involved when I read the questions the first time around.
I was mimicking Charli’s behavior! I was refusing to eat the “hard” kibbles God had laid out for me through Susan’s questions. I was dining only on the “soft” kibbles. I was choosing to answer the questions that I found easy to answer – questions that didn’t require extra energy or extra “heart power” to answer.
Unfortunately for me, this behavior also carries over to my quiet time – my time of reading God’s Word – my time of hearing God’s voice. Anytime, I come across a “hard” truth – a truth I don’t want to practice or a truth that I find hard to understand, I sail through it to the next “soft” truth.
Just as the “hard” kibbles benefit Charli and Sam by controlling tarter build-up on their teeth, God’s “hard” truths provide tarter control for our hearts; “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God’s truth – the “hard” and the soft – is beneficial to our growth in Him. As we saturate our hearts with His truth, we become more like Him. As we feast on God’s Words – all of them – they provide nourishment for our growth and become preventative and protective care as we face our daily trials in life.
God’s word also tells us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8) How can we possibly see that the Lord is good when we skip over His hard truths – when we’re selective in the kibble that we want to eat? How can we take refuge in Him when we’re not reading His Truth in its’ entirety? How can we receive God’s blessings in their entirety if we’re reading and digesting our hand-picked kibbles?
Father God, I thank You for Your truth – both the “hard” and soft kibble that you cho0se to feed us. Give us the courage to taste the “hard” kibble – show us Your goodness in the “hard” spots. Give me the tenacity to digest the “hard” along with the soft. Use all of Your words as a source of preventative and protective care for our hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.