It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sister, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)
I’m amazed how perfectly God orchestrates everyday circumstances for our own good. It’s very clear how well he sees the big picture and guides us into truth in ways we can each understand. God used a recent experience for me to really bring home a message I needed to hear.
I train Border Collie dogs to work livestock. It’s a dance of pressure and release. They need to apply the right amount of pressure to livestock to get the desired response from them. They also need to release pressure at the right moment. The same goes for me in training the dogs.
I went to a small sheep dog trial (competition) awhile back. I had been dealing with some strife and conflict in my own personal life right around that time. I kept replaying the conflict over and over again my head. I was explaining to God how he needed to fix this problem. I had many conversations with myself on what I could say to fix this whole situation if given half a chance! To be perfectly honest, I wanted to fix this problem with my fists.
Jess is my little female dog that is a firecracker! She had always come out fighting (gripping) when she felt pressure. So at this trial when she was feeling pressure from the sheep challenging her, she immediately went to her default of hanging and dragging on sheep. Because I wasn’t disqualified with her right then, which was a first, she had to work through the pressure. She had no choice but to start dealing with it. No cop out this time. She learned to settle in and find other ways to cope and deal with pressure. It was hard for her but she progressed!
Rock, my older male, on the other hand came out and handled some extremely tough sheep with calm power. They weren’t pushing him around but he wasn’t lashing out from the pressure either. He handled them calmly and with respect. The sheep tried to split up as to divide and conquer. They weren’t going to get away with anything but to be completely victorious in the situation he needed my help!
God revealed to me that my default reaction is just like Jess. When I feel pressured or especially if I feel like someone is hurting one of my “own” I want to lash out and get physical. It’s honestly a cop out as I don’t have to deal with the hard stuff that way. The emotions and discussions that come with the dealing with conflict.
God wants me to react with the calm power that He has given me. He is right there with me! I can’t do it on my own. But I CAN do it with HIM beside me and IN me! Stand firm!! That is the practical side of all of this. That IN HIM I can do all things. It might not be easy but it’s possible.
I don’t have to settle or back down from the attacks of the enemy. But, I don’t have to lash out and give the enemy any foothold into my life or my relationships. These people that I think I’m protecting, God is already protecting! I’m putting my faith, trust and hope in God to handle the situation!
Father God, help me to trust you in pressure filled situations. You are the God who raises the dead! Surely You alone can handle these pressured areas of our lives. I trust YOU to handle these situations and give me the words, if any, to say at Your perfect time. Help me to trust You and to not take it back into my own hands. Thank you Lord! In Jesus name, Amen!
I raise sheep. Quite a few sheep actually. I will admit I don’t live out with them 24 hours a day like the shepherds did during Jesus’ life. They’re in fenced in pastures and have guard dogs that live out with them to help protect them. I have learned a thing or two about the ovine species (fancy name for sheep) during my life.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that you want to be in relationship with us. You desire to spend time with us. You know our inmost being. Thank you that we can know you better each day through time in your word and prayer. Help us to listen for your voice alone today! In Jesus name, Amen!