Wait… Then, Immediate Obedience

The officer walked with purpose, sharply turning, marking out a random pattern on the lawn in front of his audience.  His faithful K9 partner kept pace with him, stride for stride, never leaving his side.  A sharp right… three more paces… then a sharp left.  The dog’s head was cocked sideways, never once looking in the direction he was going, his eyes locked and focused on his master.

Then it was time to show what the dog could really do.  Another officer lumbered onto the lawn quite a distance away from the K9 and his handler.  He was covered nearly head to toe in a cumbersome “bite suit” – a thick, heavy get-up that’s designed to protect one from the sharp teeth of a K9.  As the K9 officer explained to the audience what they were about to see, the K9 got a glimpse of the officer in the bite suit (called an “agitator”).  He began to bark loudly as if he was saying to his master, “Look!  Look, dad!  See that guy!  I want to go get him, dad… can I?  Can I, please go get him?!”

Even though the grip of his master restrained him, the K9 didn’t leave his handler’s side until he heard the command.  The officer made several announcements, then finally, the command was given to his K9 partner and the leash was released.  The K9 took off like a shot, tackling the officer in the bite suit with one leap and gripping the suit between his teeth like a vise grip.  The K9 handler chased after him, grabbed his leash again and gave the command to release his grip.

As I watched the demonstration of this amazing police K9 and his handler I couldn’t help but see the parable.  The relationship between dog and handler should be the kind of relationship I have with God.  First, I need to practice daily that simple basic obedience of keeping my eyes on Him.  No matter what is going on around me, He should be the one leading me… not the other way around.  I should be watching His every move so that I know which direction to turn.  I can only do that when I tune out the distractions in my life and keep my eyes focused on Him.

But what happens when that “agitator” suddenly enters my world.  When my focus is taken off of God and I have to face whatever it is in front of me.  Maybe it is something sinister, someone or something that is causing problems in my life.  Or perhaps it’s something exciting, an opportunity that I can hardly wait for.  Whatever it is it consumes me.

No matter who or what the “agitator” is, once again the K9 has it right.  That is not the time for me to handle things on my own.  It’s not the time for me to leave my Master’s side and take off after what’s in front of me just because it is.  I still must remain obedient.  I need to be talking to Him about it.  “Look, dad!  Look at that!  Can I go?  Please!  Can I get it?”  And then I wait.  I wait for His command.  I wait for Him to release the leash.

Watching a K9 wait to be released does not exactly fit our common definition of waiting.  We usually think of it as something passive.  But we can’t forget that it is God who puts things in our path.  I really don’t think He expects us to roll over and play dead as they trot on by us.  I think He expects us to strain at the leash, to talk to Him about it and most importantly He expects us to wait for the exact moment He gives us His command to act.  Sometimes it can be a long wait.  But I believe God’s ultimate desire is to teach us “immediate obedience.”

Being “da glove” is all about “immediate obedience.”  It’s about responding to His command whenever He gives it and with whomever He puts in our path.  His way of training us to have that immediate obedience is when He forces us to wait.  He is teaching us to strain those muscles, to talk to Him, and listen intently for His command.

Lord help me not to get frustrated with waiting but to recognize that it’s in those times that you are making me a better glove.  Help me to not put my own desires in front of Your will, to take off running without You, or to let my “barking” drown out Your voice in my life.  Thank you for being a good and patient Master.

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