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Friday, March 15, 2013

Once Upon a Time: A Beautiful Maiden, Buddy and Me

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful maiden. She was married to a handsome and kind man. Her father-in-law died and so her mother-in-law came to live with them. To everyone’s amazement they all got along and would have lived happily ever after except then the story would be too short.

So, her husband died. The beautiful maiden knew not what to do. She loved her mother-in-law, but the custom of her husband’s family was that she should marry her dead husband’s brother and have children with him to carry on her dead husband’s lineage. 

But, her mother-in-law was old and kind of wrinkly, and her prospects of her mother-in-law finding a new husband and having a son with him were slim. And, even if she did, the maiden would have to wait until he was of age and then she’d have to marry a kid she helped to raise and it would just be really awkward.

But alas, she couldn’t leave her mother-in-law’s side. When her mother-in-law decided to return to her homeland in order to find help from her family, she told the maiden to go back to her father’s house where she could find a new husband and forget their crazy custom.

She looked her mother-in-law square in the eye and said, “Don't force me to leave you. Don't make me turn back from following you. Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” And, that settled that.

When they arrived in the old country, the mother-in-law told her of another way, even weirder than the first. It was a long shot, but just maybe. The maiden learned that the wealthy man who’s grain she had been picking was a distant cousin of her husband and a close enough relative to fulfill the responsibility of the custom. If she could marry him and bear his children, she could preserve the line of her dead husband.

He was giving her attention and treated her better than he treated his own servant girls!

So, she took a big risk. She slipped into the barn and lay down by his feet while he was sleeping. Then, she pulled the blanket off his feet so they would get cold and eventually he woke up.

When he did, he found her and knew what she wanted. He told her to go back to sleep and he would take care of everything. They went back to sleep and in the morning she slipped out of the barn before anyone else got up so that no nasty rumors got started.

After a little finagling, they got married and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Buddy, our dog, is a lot like the maiden from this story. He sometimes wants my attention. So, he leans. He covers. He presses in. He will walk right up next to me, not even looking at me. He will get as close as possible to my legs and then lean against me. Not demanding anything from me. He wants me to know that he is there. He wants me to feel that he is there. Sometimes, he’ll lay down right there on my feet. He is being a constant and faithful presence, waiting for me. And, he can be very patient. He will wait for my touch, my stroke, my “Good dog.” (Unless he hears a car door or someone walking up the steps, of course. Then he is off, springing to action.)

We need to be like the maiden and like Buddy. We need to lay at God’s feet and just be there, patiently, lovingly, faithfully waiting for Him to acknowledge us. We need to be persistent, regardless of the circumstances of our lives and, wait for him to speak, to encourage, to lead, to guide, to simply say, “You are good.” Yeah, the car door slamming, the phone ringing, the schedule bustling may distract us, but we need to get to resting at his feet more and more.

With our patience and faithfulness we say to God, “Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay.”

He will speak. He promises to. We just need to wait and listen.

"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep respond to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out of the pen. After he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice."- John 10:3-4

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