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The command was clear and firm… and it appeared to be just about killing her…

But she listened.  Perhaps it was a combination of her loyalty, her desire to please her master, and the fact that she ultimately knew that he would be faithful.  Even so, staying was nearly impossible.

She tried at first to contain her whimpers,  just barely murmuring them under her breath.  But the longer the wait, the louder they became.  And soon, she was wailing.  The white tip of her tail frantically swept the floor as her eyes darted back and forth between the rawhide that lay just a foot out of her reach and the master who had given the command.

Feeling more tortured with each passing second, she began to bob up and down like a buoy on the waves.  Yet, she stayed.  Not knowing why and seeing no purpose for the wait, she remained obedient…  Until finally, she heard him say, “Good girl.  Go get your bone.”

Teaching her to stay is different from teaching her to roll over.  It’s not some cutesy trick. It doesn’t win the affections of the crowd or even earn an additional reward.  The reward is already at hand, right under her nose.  All staying does is prolong the time before she can have it.

To an onlooker it may seem like a cruel and pointless taunt. But in reality, it’s a pivotal part of the owner/dog relationship.

Her submission reveals the depth of her trust for her master.  For in that moment, she has to choose between obeying the command, or satisfying her desire. A decision that will expose where her heart lies.  But she knows that he is good. He has loved her, cared for her, provided every need, and so it is his will she chooses above her own.

But it goes deeper than that.  As the dog learns to trust her master, she finds reward in being in his presence.  And the master sees her as faithful.

By choosing to stay even though the bone is within reach and there’d be time to snatch it before he could stop her, he knows she can be trusted on a journey.  These are the dogs who walk side by side with their owners, not under restraint, but as companions.  Such dogs earn the freedom to venture out and explore the world unleashed… happy to return at the sound of their master’s voice.

When God keeps us in a holding pattern, it’s easy to feel like a dog.  We whimper and wail.  We pant and beg.  We are anxious, humiliated, unable to comprehend. The wait is agonizing. Yet it is here that our trust is challenged and our relationship defined.

We say God is good.  We know He has loved us, cared for us, and provided our every need.  And in this moment we expose how much we really believe that.  Here all pretense is broken down as we discover both our true selves and who God really is.

So the question is this: While you wait on the Lord, are you fixating on the bone or the Master?

Photo credit: maclauren70 via / CC BY-NC-SA

Guest post written by my daughter Cherie Garza