I was crouched on my living room floor playing with my dog. “Come here!” I called in a fun playful voice. The little beagle puppy wagged his tail, his floppy ears waved in the air as he jumped and sauntered towards me. He suddenly stopped. Between him and me there was a narrow passage between the couch and the laundry basket. He stuck his head in between and pulled back. He stayed on the other side whining and obviously distressed.
“You can make it through!” I coaxed. There was enough room for him to walk through, he was just nervous. Even if there wasn’t, he could easily move the basket because it was empty. I called him again, to no avail. He was nervous, he wanted to come, but he was too uncomfortable to get through.
I wasn’t asking my dog to do anything drastic, but I knew he was uncomfortable. So I moved the basket so he could come to me without being nervous.
You might say to yourself, “What a stupid dog! What was he so afraid of?” You might say it’s ridiculous- and you’re probably right, but I would say that more often than we realize, you and I are like my overly-nervous dog.
And for the record, it’s not just us. I’ll give you two examples.
First Gideon. God was calling Gideon in Judges 6 and 7, to lead the people of Israel out of bondage. Gideon was a bit frightened. Did you know, that God didn’t get angry with Gideon when Gideon was afraid. He knew Gideon’s heart. Gideon wanted to serve, Gideon wanted to obey. God made a way. God proved himself many times. First, His angel miraculously produced fire and consumed a meal Gideon had prepared. Then God did not one, but two miracles involving the morning dew and a fleece. And finally, without Gideon even asking, God told Gideon if he was afraid, he should go down to the enemy camp. In the camp, Gideon overheard that the enemy was scared of him!
Talk about patience, God was extremely patient with Gideon.
Second Moses. God called to Moses out of a burning bush. A bush. That was perpetually on fire. That was not being destroyed by the fire. I’m sure you heard the story. But honestly, Moses was still skeptical of God’s plans. Moses had a lot of questions. A lot. Almost 30 verses in Exodus are dedicated to God answering all of the doubt and insecurities that Moses had. At the very end, Moses is still uncomfortable, and God does get angry with him, but it is important to note that Moses literally asked God to find someone else at this point. Up until then, God answered every single doubt and insecurity Moses brought up.
With my dog, I could have yelled at him. Told him he was a bad dog. And sternly ordered him to come. But I didn’t. I moved the basket to make him comfortable, and my dog ran over- we had a great time.
And with us, it is very similar. God is King of the universe. He doesn’t have to help us. It is our duty to obey Him. If He orders us to do something, we should fall in line whether or not we are afraid. But isn’t it a blessing to know, that there are times when God makes allowances for our fears and insecurities. He knows we are frail. He knows we are weak. He knows we are afraid.
God knows our hearts, and He loves us. Isn’t it a blessing to know that He prepares a way for us to follow Him. He didn’t have to do all those miracles for Gideon. And He didn’t have to answer all of Moses’ fearful questions.
God had made it possible for them to obey Him. He had already moved the mountains. They were still hesitant, so He moved the molehills too.
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14