Shorty was my first dog. He was a Pekingese mix and walked very low to the ground. When I was about 12, Shorty was injured in a dogfight and required several weeks of TLC before he
was back to his usual health. I remember taking him for a walk in nearby woods. The sun set too fast and we were in darkness. The fastest way home was through a patch of recently cut brush. On most days Shorty would have been just fine and would have hopped along happily as he followed. But not this night. Everywhere he turned there was more brush and debris that he could not climb over. He was trapped. Every direction was blocked. But I was there with him. So I eased him into my arms and carried him through the brush until we reached the ease of a gravel road. I put him down and he made his way home, following every step I made.
I learned a lesson that night about our Father.
Shorty got stuck. I get stuck. I am trapped by problems that I cannot overcome. When that happens, God eases me into his arms and carries me to safety. He does for me what I cannot do for myself. God carries me over the turmoil of life.
God carried Noah over the turmoil of a destroyed, wicked world (Genesis 6:11-14). God carried Abraham out of an idolatrous nation, led him through distant wanderings and made great and abiding promises to him (Genesis 15:1-20). He brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage but then protected them as they wandered 40 years in the hostile wilderness. He finally brought them into the land of Canaan. The Father brought the Son through the darkness of Gethsemane and Golgotha and set him over all others (Colossians 1:15-20).
He will do the same for you. Ask. Trust.
I once hesitated to ask God to deliver me from problems I created. I believed it was true that if I made my bed, I should sleep in it. But that is not Biblical. Each of us stands condemned of our own choices (James 1:14, 15) and cannot free ourselves from that condemnation (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). We sin and we ask God for deliverance as we should. God will help us out of our own foolishness. He will save us from ourselves.
Isaiah 59 is a powerful chapter. It opens with a declaration of God’s ability to save but mankind’s building of an impenetrable wall of sin. The prophet continues to reveal God’s displeasure at sin and his coming justice. But then at the end, “And a redeemer will come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20). When we’ve built a wall that separates us from God, when we are stuck, a deliverer will come.
Shorty understood deliverance. That night, I was his redeemer, his deliverer. I did for him what he could not do for himself. I wasn’t angry and was never agitated. I just loved my old dog.
At 6-1 I have never been called Shorty. But for today, feel free to call me Shorty. I’ll understand.