I have a five-foot-tall wooden fence around the perimeter of my backyard, which has a gate beside the house. I had been working in the yard one day and decided to take a lunch break. As I was eating, I noticed a strange dog in the backyard. Obviously, I had accidently left the gate open.
The poor dog started running back and forth along the rear fence. As he reached each fence on the side of the yard, he leaped trying to jump over. Each attempt failed and the dog crashed into the wooden slats, then ran in the opposite direction to try again. The hurdles were simply too high, and the dog lacked the strength and knowledge to find its way to out.
I went to the open gate and began whistling and calling for the dog to come my way—the only way to find paradise. The dog would look my way, but feared me; I was not his master, so he continued trying to get out using his own methods. The dog ignored all my offers to help. I had to find other means to convince the dog I was simply trying to help him find the answer to his problem—I meant no him harm.
I walked slowly toward the dog, talking softly as I approached. As I got near, the dog ran to the front fence and repeated its efforts, achieving the same results. He ran right past the open gate and crashed into the fence each time. Although the gate was wide open, the dog failed to seize the opportunity I had graciously provided. A simple fence, combined with the lack of faith and trust in me was all that prevented the dog from reaching its goal—freedom. Well, after much coaxing and showing the way, the dog finally saw the light and ran out through the open gate.
This situation made me think about how we often view God the same way as the dog viewed me. For whatever reason, we sometimes act like that poor little dog. God calls us and shows us the way to find the path in our spiritual journey. His messages are very clear, yet we seem to ignore or not understand what He wants us to do in life. We keep trying to do things our way even though we keep crashing into the fence.
Fortunately, God never gives up on us and keeps calling for us to follow Him. He has a plan for each of us if we would only listen. Unfortunately, our fear and free will to make choices also causes us to be stubborn at times—just like the dog. When we learn to take our fences (life-hurdles) to God in prayer, He will listen and show us the way—in His own time. If we have faith and place our trust in God and start following Him, He will lead us to and through the “open gates” in life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
John 14:5-7 (NIV)
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
To learn what happened to one man when God called him to follow, read my story “If Tigers Were Angels: With God, All Things Are Possible” available on Amazon or by contacting me at IfTigersWereAngels@gmail.com
Tom Tatum – Author – 2015
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