My friend and I had just finished running an errand together. We were sitting in my car talking, sharing as friends do. She told me that she had received a desperate call from the local animal shelter that she helps. They had a dog named Bo who was struggling. He was not adjusting to kennel life. He had been surrendered by an unknown person in a drop box at the shelter. He was aggressive with the other dogs, presumably out of fear. He would not be a likely candidate for adoption with his barking and snarling at staff and visitors. They asked her to take Bo home with her and her husband to see how he would respond. I said, “Wow, you are very brave.” I am not sure I would have the courage to take home an aggressive, having-trouble-getting-along-with-others, part-Pit Bull dog to see how he would do.
She proceeded to share that Bo surprised her. He was affectionate with her and her husband. He loved to sit on her lap and responded to her in a warm way. He allowed her to pet him, feed him and showed his appreciation for her kindness with kisses and sitting near her. However, taking Bo for a walk outside was a different story. She was instructed at his dog obedience training to take a doggie treat with them. Whenever Bo got distracted by other animals or people, she was to put the treat in front of his face while calling his name, using the treat to guide his face to look at her. When he looked and focused on her, she would give him the treat. This would help him remain calm when he was stressed out by other animals or strange people.
I was laughing as she was describing how she would dangle the treat in front of Bo’s face and call his name over and over so he would look at her. She turned to me and said, “How many times am I like Bo?” How many times does God need to get my attention to look at him, look at his strength and seek his face? I Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and his strength; Seek his face continually.” Are we distracted like Bo? Are we too busy looking at the events around us? Are we too busy with work, our family, our friends or the holidays to seek his face?
The news alone is enough to make anyone feel stressed. All that is happening in our world shows us that we are living at the edge of the promise land. During this time we are living in, is it causing you to draw closer to God? What does it mean to seek his face? 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I believe this could not be truer for us today. We have been living in this world of sin. It is easy to be distracted with worldly things. God has a treat for us. He has been waiting for over 6,000 years to restore us to His presence. A heaven to win. A place of peace, joy and eternal love with our God. He is gently calling our names over and over. Asking us to humble ourselves in prayer, seek his face, confess our sins and then be filled with his spirit. Only then will we find healing, forgiveness and a new life in Christ.
This lesson is also found in the story of Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus. In the Desire of Ages chapter 40 called, “A Night on the Lake,” this account is described in beautiful detail. Ellen G. White states, “Looking unto Jesus, Peter walks securely; but as in self-satisfaction he glances back toward his companions in the boat, his eyes are turned from the Saviour.”Peter took his eyes off his Savior. When he did, he was facing the waves, wind and elements of the storm on his own. They came between him, and his view of Jesus and his faith began to falter. She goes on to say that he started to sink. As he started to go down in the water, waves coming over his face, he saw that he could drown. He cried out “Lord save me!” I love this next part of the story… Jesus immediately stretched out his hand to save him (Matthew 14:31). Peter received a rebuke from his master for his little faith.
How many times do we look at the storm instead of keeping our eyes on the one who can save us? Be still before the Lord, listen for his voice. Keep your eyes on him. Do not let yourself be distracted or afraid during these times. We have a Savior who loves us and is doing all he can to prepare us for his soon return.