I have a great dog named Sophie. I have had Sophie now for about 16 years.
She is now very obedient and loves on me like crazy. But when she was a puppy, I had to spend a lot of frustrating time trying to train her. We would go through commands over and over. Sit, heal, stay, stop, come, sit, heal, stay, come, etc.
One day, I had grown weary of her not getting it right, so I decided to take her for a walk without her leash. We were traveling through a wooded area when Sophie spotted an opportunity to engage in her favorite pastime, chasing squirrels. The fast little critter led Sophie in a few circles and darted across a busy street. Sophie was in hot pursuit and was headed straight for the road with a very fast, very large truck headed her way. I yelled, “Sophie, STOP!” Much to my surprise, she hit the brakes and rested on her rump just beside the road as the screaming truck zoomed by. No squirrel that day, but no flat dog, either.
I have to wonder how many trucks I could have avoided in my life if I had only listened to my master. At the time, Sophie did not know why I was telling her to stop. She just knew that she heard my voice, and the word “stop” meant for her to do just that. Little did she know that the swoosh of wind that went by could have cost her dearly.
I have also felt many swooshes as I have listened and obeyed, and I am thankful that I serve a God who cares enough to discipline me when I don’t get it right in order to save me from getting flattened. It is also interesting that listening to God does not always mean to hit the brakes; sometimes, it means, “Go for it.” Many times now, Sophie sees the squirrel and turns to me to ask permission to go after what she wants. I often reward her. It’s nice when I feel like going after something and God says, “Go for it.” We serve a great God, and although we don’t always understand why, listening to his voice is a wise thing. May God bless you with the wisdom to avoid being a pancake!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Harn is the pastor of Victory Assembly of God and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.