Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Sparkly Top and the Muddy Dog Adventure


I know my sparkly top had nothing to do with the events of the morning, but the truth is that something crazy happens every time I wear it. Yesterday, I chanced wearing it because it's my favorite item in the closet. 

It might not have been a good idea.

Since I was ready for work early, I decided to enjoy a cup of coffee on the patio. The wonder dogs and I went outside and took our places, I in my favorite chair, the dogs beside me. I breathed in the aroma of the coffee, took a sip, and surveyed the scene before me. The sky was the bluest of blues, not a cloud in evidence. A faint breeze barely stirred the crisp, cool air. Surrounding trees were reflected in the lake's mirror-like stillness. Drops of dew still glistened on the grass.

Without warning, the dogs alerted for a moment, then sped away. Before I could finish a second sip of coffee, they were across the levee and out of sight, barking like hounds. 

I drank my coffee and waited, as time ticked away. 

They didn't come back.

Departure time was imminent, but the dogs were nowhere in sight. I began to pray, "Lord, please send these silly dogs back. I need to leave for the office." 

Still no sign of them. 

I had just pulled on my rubber boots in anticipation of hiking through the tall, still-wet grass, when Mamie came running. She was soaked with dew. I locked her in the kitchen and went in search of Maggie.

Whistling and calling her name, I headed down the slope to the levee. I was nearly there when Maggie came running. She was just as wet as Mamie. She stopped at a dusty spot a few feet ahead of me and, before I could stop her, started rolling in the dirt.

As you might imagine, the combination of dew-soaked fur and dusty ground resulted in a very muddy dog. 

Maggie loves to roll in the dirt, so I wasn't surprised, but I was terribly disappointed.  

"Stop," I told Maggie in my firmest voice. She stopped, stretched out flat on her belly, and looked up at me. She knew she was in trouble. There would be no snuggles with that much dirt. 

There wasn't time to bathe her, so I grabbed her up and held her at arm's length  to keep the mud off my sparkly top. I marched her to the kitchen and locked her in with Mamie.

"Girls, I don't have time to deal with this dirt right now. We'll take care of it when I get back." 

As I switched into my flip flops, I thought about how Maggie had given me such a clear picture of repentance. She'd done exactly what she wanted, then, when she realized her actions hadn't given her the result she wanted (peace with her mama), she's surrendered to my authority and stretched out before me. 

I'd gathered her up, put her in a safe place with all she needed for the moment, and given her time to dry and rest from her antics. Later, we dealt with the dirt. 

It's a little like how God deals with us. When we repent, He gathers us up just as we are. There's usually time for a little rest, but, before long, He begins to deal with the dirt of our sin. The more we're cleansed, the closer our intimacy with Him can be. 

Last night, clean dogs snuggled in my lap and took their place at the foot of my bed. Muddy dogs don't get to do that.

Which is better? Muddy and locked in the kitchen or clean and snuggled at the feet of the master... 

We have a choice every day: the stain or sin or the intimacy that only repentance can bring. Which will we choose?

"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..." Acts 3:19 nasb 
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