On Tuesday, I was rambling around the lake with Bali, my fluffy little troublemaker of a dog, when a massive eagle flew over our heads and settled in a tree nearby. The bird was a motley-colored juvenile, so at first, I thought it was a hawk from the coloring. But no hawk is THAT big, and I swear this one was paying an awful lot of attention to Bali. Normally, I wouldn’t react—no way that bird was going to come near me—but I had just dropped the end of Bali’s leash so she could have a some freedom along the water’s edge several feet away from me.
For all I knew, my cavanese looked like lunch.
So, I did what any good dog mom would do and grabbed the end of that leash, tethering my oblivious pup to me. She wasn’t all that happy about it, pulling against me in protest since she was in the middle of investigating some smell or other.
But I was not about to let her become take-out for a teenaged eagle whose eyes were bigger than its stomach.
We continued our walk and every so often, I’d see the eagle swoop to another tree and hear the blue jays screech out a warning. Bali, of course, never once looked up from the scent trails she was sniffing out.
Kind of like you and me, isn’t it? We’re busy with what’s right in front of us, pulling against the protective hand of God when we don’t see what He sees. At least, that’s what I feel like He’s been teaching me since Tuesday’s eagle sighting.
We focus on the curtailing of our freedom or the frustrating of our plans when He shuts down certain opportunities or relationships. However, while we’re busy grumbling about the restraint, He’s busy guarding us from danger. He has every intention of letting us experience adventure and abundant life, but He also wants to keep us from being served up like a blue-plate special to the enemy.
So here in January as I make my goals, I’m doing so with a bit more humility because of that reminder. I’m thankful that I’m not alone in my 2019 plans. I have a good leader walking beside me, the kind who says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8) I want to be tuned in to His instructions, and when I feel His tug pulling me away from something, even if it’s something I think is really good, I want to be obedient, trusting that His restraint is evidence of immense mercy and grace.
And unlike my dog, I also want to look up once and awhile and see the wonder of that mercy and grace in action.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be.
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
(Lyrics, Robert Robinson, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” 1758. Photo, Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash.)
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