A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

Yesterday I decided to give my long-haired dachshund a bath. She needed a bath like any dog who rolls in the dust after sniffing at odd smells. I called her to come. But she’d seen signs of a bath coming, so she ran to her crate.

I carried her, squirming, to the kitchen. As I scrubbed her, she stood rigid and resistant. Her dark brown eyes accused me of torturing her. She seemed to be saying, “Why are you doing this to me? This is dog abuse!”

I reasoned with her. “Now, Schatzi, you know that’s not true. I’ve never hit you. Every day I give you food and water. I worry about your happiness and safety every day. You need this bath. Now stop glaring at me.”
But I saw real fear in Schatzi’s eyes. “Come on, Schatzi,” I pleaded. “Haven’t I proved I love you? All those vets bills—I’ve paid them gladly. I let you outside any time, day or night, when you ask. Why don’t you trust me? I don’t deserve this. I’ve taken care of you every day, all your life!”

Then I heard the quiet, insistent voice of my own conscience. (My conscience is very rude to me and impossible to ignore.) “Libby,” the voice said quietly, “Has it occurred to you how very much like Schatzi you are in your relationship with your own Heavenly Father? Aren’t you sometimes fearful and think God isn’t taking good care of you? You don’t say it out loud—you’re “too good a Christian” to do that, but sometimes, haven’t you thought, ‘God, You could have stopped that, but You didn’t. Why not?’ ”

It was true. Sometimes I have responded with fear, not trust. But all my life God has watched over me, protected me, met every need of my life, always worked things out for my good. Why don’t I just trust Him when I don’t understand what He is doing? He deserves my trust. I felt like Peter the disciple must of felt after he’d answered the maid, “Jesus? No, I don’t know Him.”

That was yesterday. Today Schatzi sleeps beside me, her clean coat gleaming in the sun, her fears of me forgotten.

Yesterday I promised God I would trust Him always, no matter what. Today I got a diagnosis from my eye doctor that was not unexpected, but disquieting. I am asking God to help me say, like King David did,
Whenever I am afraid,I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3

It is human instinct to fear the unknown, and God certainly knows why I am sometimes afraid. The answer isn’t to deny that I’m afraid, but when I am afraid, to tell myself my God is trustworthy.

So today I am remembering that my Heavenly Father is the same God who has taken care of me through my whole life. He died to give me life. He has never, ever failed me. Today, by His grace, I will focus on my God, not my fear. Surely I owe Him that, just as I expect my silly little dog to trust me.

Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. . .
The LORD is merciful and gracious; He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.
For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great
as the height of the heavens above the earth. Psalm 103:2-1

Oh, yes! When I am afraid, I will trust in my God—and so can you.