Summary: A devotion for growing believers
As I begin to type this it is 8:09 am. The temperature outside is 30 degrees. Just ten minutes ago, I was taking care of my dogs so I could come back inside and set to work without distractions or other obligations on my mind.
Their water dish was still about half full, but it was half full of ice. So I got a pitcher of hot water and poured it over the top of what was there.
Einstein, the German Shepherd, who had not had his morning drink, attempted to drink even as I was pouring the hot water over the ice. He stopped, tried again, disliked the feeling, and looked up at me as though to say, "Is this some kind of sick joke? I've been shut up all night; I've just finished my breakfast of dry dog cereal, and now you give me this 'magic' water that bites like a junkyard dog! Don't you care that I'm dying of thirst here? Must you cause me pain?"
I bent, and with my index finger, stirred the water for a few seconds, until the ice at the bottom cooled the water at the top enough for him to drink comfortably. In fact, now it was not only comfortable to drink, but being very cold outside, I imagined that the warm water would be a benefit to him over the cold water. (I'm not a Vet, but after all, don't we enjoy a warm drink on a cold day; especially if we have to work outside?)
As I reentered the house and put the pitcher away, it occurred to me that to Einstein, I must truly be a god. He has needs, and I meet them without being asked. When he does ask, in his doggie way, I interpret his wordless, feeble attempts to communicate his need, and I meet them gladly because I care for him. When the water hurt, I 'magically' stuck my finger into it, and miraculously transformed it into something palatable for him.
As a result of these things I do for him, he worships me. When I come home, he leaps with joy to see me. When I go outside after several hours of work (or whatever), he is so excited to see me that he spins in circles, licks my hands, sits by me or in front of me and lifts a paw. I tell him to do it so often, he assumes that I derive some great pleasure from seeing his paw come up, so up it comes, without provocation and without command. He wants to please his master. He trusts his master. He loves his master, unconditionally. I know that if I failed to feed him for a couple of days, and ignored him for several days, he would still act this way toward me; because in his experience my presence means needs met, love offered.
This is doggie faith.
In Einstien's case, it is a mindless, conditioned sort of faith. What God asks of us though, is faith based upon love. He can do that, because He gives the love so that we might return it.
I love my wife, and she loves me. I am confident that all she does for me and the way she acts toward me, proceeds from that love; even when she is angry with me.
I do not think she loves me because she meets my needs or gives me what I want. I understand that because of her love, I can expect the best from her. I rest in her love. When the circumstances of my life are at their worst...when life 'bites' like Einstein's water...that is when resting in her love becomes most important. No matter where I am, or what discomfort or pain I am suffering, the knowledge that at the end of the day I will be with her, in the comfort of her presence, brings me rest in the midst of strife.
Let us not come short of His rest, through unbelief, which is disobedience, which is lovelessnesss.
Whether God wants to change our circumstances, or teach us something by taking us through a trial, or reveal Himself to us in our heart of hearts and continue His inward work to make us more like His Son, it is all as easy to Him as it was for me to stir my dog's water and make it cooler.
I understood the process. The hot water on top would begin to melt the ice below. The cool water off the ice below would neutralize the temperature of the water on top. As they mixed, the water would reach a lukewarm state, and the dog could drink.
There are those who could be much more technical than I about the physical processes taking place there. But the difference between those 'scientific-types' and myself is nothing compared to the difference between me and the dog.