These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” –John 16:33
In the world you will have tribulation. This is a promise. This is a guarantee. We live in a world full of sin and ruled by Satan (2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:2), and tribulation is always right around the corner. Sometimes it slams us in the face, sometimes it slowly creeps into our lives, and other times we willingly, knowingly, persistently walk right into it.
The Israelites walked into 40 years of it when they refused to enter the land of Promise because of fear and unbelief (Num 14:26-38). The prodigal son didn’t think twice before he irrationally forsook the peace and protection of his father’s home and found himself in a place of loneliness, hunger, and need (Lk 15:11-32). King David made a rash decision to not only take another man’s wife, but also premeditate the murder of that man in an attempt to cover his own sin (2 Sam 11).
Why is it that we refuse to trust God in the simplest things? When God says “take over Jericho,” we say, “No, Lord, there are giants there.” When He offers protection and peace, we throw it back in His face and sprint for a world that hands us trouble and heartache. He’s given us all we need in the place He has put us, yet we see what’s on the other side of the fence and decide that what we have is simply not enough.
God has made real to me these things lately as I grow in frustration, disappointment, and anger at my dog. Yes, he is just a dog, but we love him as a part of our family. However, he refuses to stay in the yard. For the past few months he has continually done everything possible to escape and run loose. He even had to spend an entire day and night in doggy jail, and I felt horrible. That is until we received a warning that we would be cited the next time he was loose and ‘obstructing traffic,’ then I was just mad. When his night in jail taught him nothing, we were forced to keep him tied up, rather than let him run free in his yard and risk the chance of another escape. However, day after day I would sit and listen to him bark and whine for hours and hours. I felt so bad! I complained to my hubby that our dog was as annoying as a pack of Israelites, complaining even though God had already given them everything they needed! Why can’t he just learn his lesson already?!
My hubby spent this last weekend digging holes, pouring concrete, and building a fence strong enough and tall enough to keep him in. What a relief to finally be able to let him off the leash and know he is secure and safe. Well, that’s what we thought until I came home to signs of his successful attempt to escape the safety of his yard. He had dug a hole under the new fence, and broken through, leaving bits of fur behind. I imagine that was painful.
Yes, he’s purposefully put himself and others at risk. He is gone, out of my protection, thinking he is wise enough to make it on his own. He looks through that fence and thinks "the grass is greener over there!" Little does he know, the grass is ALWAYS greener over the septic tank! If I could speak ‘dog,’ I would tell him that I know what’s best for him! I would say that I’ve provided everything he needs for peace, protection, and happiness, but he chooses what’s out in the world and puts himself in danger. If I could become a K9 and clearly explain myself to my dog, I could show him that our discipline is for his good, for the protection of him and of others.
Our Lord has done everything possible to make his message clear to us. He became a man in the flesh so that we could know him personally! He’s written an entire book, just for us, in a way that we can comprehend. He tells us that yes, this world is full of troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world, and I give you peace! All we need to do is stay in that yard, in the place of protection, and not wander out into a world that will harm us. Tribulation is a promise and a guarantee, but God also promises His peace. I just have to trust Him.
The grass is always greener, over the septic tank. -unknown
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