Pick-Me-Up: His Gentle Lead

“The Road Home,” © 2017 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

Note:  Dear Blogging Friends,  Please forgive my spotty presence this past week.  I’m fighting some kind of Spring cold or virus…I’ve missed reading your wonderful posts, but will be more active again as soon as I am feeling better.  Thank you for your understanding! You’re the best! ~Lynn

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

Puppies hate leashes.  I know that because nearly five years ago I brought home a beautiful, chocolate-colored, Labradoodle puppy: Bentley.

Determined to start things off right, I put a leash on him as soon as I arrived home and then, I gently lifted him from the Jeep.  My plan was to introduce him to his new outdoor space.

He balked.  He pulled. He scratched at the leash. He bit it. He tried to run from it. Of course, he didn’t know that an un-fenced garden near a major rural road posed a grave danger to an 8 1/2 week old pup. For a puppy, that busy road personified death and destruction.

Puppies hate leashes.

After a few weeks,  he learned to tolerate the leash.  However, on our daily walks, his pulling would periodically emerge.  In fact, I could pretty much predict that he would pull when I announced to him that we were going home.

With my happy declaration, Bentley suddenly transformed into a horse. And he hurried to the proverbial barn.

Not surprisingly, he looked for the shortest distance between two points.  It didn’t matter to Bentley whether that meant plunging through poison ivy, briar patches, neighbor’s yards, or marshy patches.

He knew where he wanted to be and he was determined to find the shortest possible–albeit perilous–path to his beloved destination.  Without regard to consequences, Bentley ran ahead.

All too often, I found myself gently reminding him to “Follow me.”

At times like these, a leash is a good thing.  Actually, I prefer to call the necessary tether by the British term– “lead.”  With the lead, I can direct Bentley and protect him.  He may want to go his own way, but as his “master,” I see what he cannot.

I smile when I stop to think about it.  How much like Bentley I can be!

The Master has promised me, “‘I know the plans I have for you… Plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope,'” (Jeremiah 29:11).

But I run ahead.  I  believe I know precisely the most direct way to get to this wonderful, promised destination. No waiting. Why bother with the “future” bit?  I know a supreme shortcut.

“Let’s go,” my heart cries.

And in my impetuous enthusiasm I run ahead of the Master. I yank and pull, all the while careening into walls, briar patches and oncoming traffic.

How much like Bentley I can be!

Obviously, I can’t foresee the danger.  Only Abba knows what lies around the bend.

Yet,  much to my chagrin, I must admit to you that in my excited impatience, I become deaf to the Master’s call, “Follow me.”

As a result, I spend a lot of time licking my wounds and spewing all kinds of abuse against the obstacles.

God must simply smile. He sees the entire landscape of my life and knows the best path from here to there, and to borrow a Tolkien phrase,”there and back again.”

Were it not for God’s loving Lead, I would continually run headstrong into brambles, thorns … I would wander off His path, and fail to arrive safely at the glorious destination.

Indeed, while God’s light touch allows me tremendous freedom to explore, His Lead will not allow me to wander far off His path.

When I plunge headlong, He gently corrects my course, and Grace whispers, “Follow Me.”

Of course, follow I must.  He holds my life in His gracious grip.

“Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me…Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?” David writes in Psalm 139.

Yes, Grace guides me in spite of myself.

Even so,  I’m sorry to say that I do grumble sometimes.  After all, the Master’s way seems long and often difficult. And I long for a shortcut.

Christ understands.  In fact, scripture tells us that he was tempted in all way like we are, yet He was without sin, (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Were it not for God’s loving Lead, I would wander off His path, and fail to arrive safely at the glorious destination He has planned for me.

The enemy, of course, knew what he was doing.  And in the desert, he offered the Son of God a shortcut.  In fact, Satan offered Christ a bypass; Christ could skip the cross, and go straight to kingship.

The only catch was that Christ must bow down and worship Satan.  Some shortcut, right?  But that’s the way it is.  The Devil’s detours are dangerous.

Satan’s shortcuts invariably tempt us to pursue short-sighted ways rather than to respond to Christ’s call, “Follow me.”  Satan seduces with the easy path, the path that leads to death and ultimate destruction.

Of course, in Gethsemane, Christ chose the “yet not my will but Thine be done,” (Luke 22:42). He resisted the detour and followed His Father’s Lead, setting the example for me.

On the surface, Abba’s plan appeared a disastrous path.

God’s love and grace, however, overcame death; Abba’s road led to resurrected life and glory.  And through Christ,  you and I dodged death’s detour.

Uh, huh.  That’s right. I can’t see what lies ahead, and I don’t know the best path. God’s way doesn’t always initially make sense to me.

Fortunately, for me–Abba’s adopted, and all-too-often-wayward child–He graciously protects me when I pull and strain.

And step-by-step, He gently leads me to my beloved destination, His beautifully designed future and hope.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand…”~ John 10: 27-29

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness,” ~Hebrews 12:11

99 Replies to “Pick-Me-Up: His Gentle Lead”

  1. Lynn what a clear visual of you and Bently and ourselves following the Master. So very true we run up ahead and often near dangerous traffic, but thankful our loving Abba leads us to safety. Your artwork is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so thankful, too, dear Denise! Thank you for your kind words; your encouragement means the world to me! I’ve been a bit under the weather, but feeling a little better today and so, I can’t wait to catch up with all your recent posts… ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, dear Meredith… I haven’t read that book, but you can be sure that as soon as I post my reply, I’m going to look it up! It sounds like I would love it! Thank you for your kind words! Your friendship means a lot to me! I so admire your faithfulness to God’s calling and the wonderful grace that you show to all those you meet! God bless you greatly! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think of how God led Israel the long way around to the promised land so that they would learn to trust and follow, preferably without grumbling. So much of life is a training ground. Feel better, Lynn! Sending you a hug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Julie!! Feeling a tad better today… Whew! And yes, please come! I need an excuse to run away as well! We could have a vacation together! Love you!! ❤ ❤ Oh, by the way, I may be coming your way in January of 2019 to see an exhibit of my hero's artwork (just outside of Atlanta). So, there's that! 🙂 ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m so glad that it resonated with you as it did me, Warren! It is such a blessing to be able to “give back” to you since your posts speak to my heart continually! Thank you for your friendship! It is truly a gift! God bless you, my brother! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn, Lynn, sometimes it is scary how your posts coincide with what the Holy Spirit brings across my mind as I read His Word and ponder on His guidance. Your statement “Yes, Grace guides me in spite of myself.” rings so true. Psalm 23 and the NEED to have Jesus as our shepherd, I have been pleading for that in prayer lately because of the absolute need for His guidance over every area of my life. Actually it isn’t me pleading so much as my acknowledgement of what He shows me. And of course, because of my own limitations, which I could write a medium sized book on (make that large) , I am so like your new puppy. The “leash” or “lead” is our communion with God, our “oneness” with Him in our prayers, reading His Word and the practical application of living out His will for our life. Jesus is our shepherd, even now, and how I wish His presence was before my eyes so that I could literally see Him and follow. But God is spirit and He draws us to Himself by His Words that Jesus spoke, the works that Jesus did and the proof of His promise by His resurrection and the faith that lives now within our hearts, that He hears our prayers, knows our new hearts and guides us according to His will. It’s a wonder I don’t choke myself by how hard I pull and strain against His guidance. I so long to see Him face to face. This was just a beautiful post, so timely, so true to His Word, as your posts always are. Thank you dear sister. Grace and blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You and me both, my wonderful brother! Guess we are both wearing out our knees in prayer right now. The older I get, the more I recognize that I need to slow down and wait for God’s guidance in everything. And that’s hard for this ever enthusiastic soul! 😉 Running ahead? I’ve got that down to a science. Thank you for your keen insights here. I love what you say:”The “leash” or “lead” is our communion with God, our “oneness” with Him in our prayers, reading His Word and the practical application of living out His will for our life.” I need to spend more and more time connected to His “lead.” It’s a life-long journey of obedience to the Master, isn’t it? I can always count on you to fully understand, Bruce! What a blessing you and your blog are! God bless you beyond all that you can imagine!!

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    1. Thank you with all my heart, Robert! God teaches me through stories… I’m just passing that along as I “preach” to myself. I’m so glad to know that the teachings resonate with my friends, like you, as well. God bless you big time!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah!
    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
    Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you” (Ps 32:7-9)
    As a young woman, I too was very stubborn. I was very proud of my ‘great artistic romantic imagination’. That is why I considered practicing rebellion as creativity. I could not write a poem, compose a song or paint, until I felt angry by my oppressive masters. Self pity made an artist of me…I thought that humility and restraining obedience are leashes designed for fools. I could not change my heart until I met my Savior, Jesus Christ. He removed the leash of world pleasing and put on my neck His own light and easy yoke. I became so grateful. How happy I became walking (and even dancing waltz in between the stars) under His yoke! Can you believe that? Co-yoked with my Lover, I am now ready to walk with Him anywhere, to the end of the world, now and forever! With time, His yoke became even lighter, for now, His teaches me with His eyes and guides me His smile. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lia, my dear friend and sister in the Lord, you never fail to bless and lift my heart toward praise of our amazing God and Creator! I am so grateful to Abba for your friendship. How privileged I am to have come to know you through your beautiful blog! I look forward to meeting you someday, if not in this world, in our heavenly home. I plan to give you a huge hug!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again, your beautiful writing speaks to my soul. I love how you said that God sits back and smiles. I too spend too much time fighting the obstacles. God wants us to sit back and smile as He takes the lead and makes a way.
    Feel better soon! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Joni…Thank you! I’m feeling a little better. Thank you so much for your kind words; your friendship is such a blessing to me! God has given you such a tender heart toward Him and toward others! He is using you in incredible ways to touch lives! I’m so thankful to have met you! God bless you greatly as you have blessed me! Have a fantastic week! You are in my thoughts and prayers. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are on to something many of us do in our zeal to follow Christ, I get busy for God doing all kinds of things and wearing myself out. God has shortened my leash (lead) many times. Thanks for a great insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved the painting. Beautiful use of light; soft, warm and yellow. And the reflection on God’s word is a good and timely reminder for me to be led by His Spirit and not to rush ahead. Thank you. I hope you feel well soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you with all my heart, RJ! I so appreciate your powerful and straight-forward teaching! It is always a blessing and an honor to have you visit here! And thank you for your kind words…improving a little each day. 🙂 God bless you greatly!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “I need God’s gentle touch to run forward.” We had a labrador also what an energetic and delightful breed. I love the peace and gentleness that comes across in your writing. . Just keep doing what you do. Jesus is the greatest shepherd.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed hearing about your Bently…….how often I have thought about how easily my Molly pup follows me on leash. Now that she is older she sometimes lags way behind. Sometimes I lag behind GOD trying to catch up, but doing that in my own way! When we abide, we walk alongside our Savior……a perfect place for us to be! Great post friend! Hope you feel better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you with all my heart, dear Angela. I’m so grateful for your prayers! And as far as being patient goes? You and me both! Sigh… I do so often run ahead. “Waiting on the Lord” is a life-long lesson for me! Thank you for your truly encouraging words! You and your friendship are a blessing! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. As usual, Lynn, a beautiful and insightful piece of writing. I’m always so blessed by reading your posts! ❤️ And your artwork is just the icing on the cake 😉. Love your analogy of being lead by our Lord—not always the easiest, but definitely always the best way. Thanks for letting God use you to speak to my heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Mia… your words have truly buoyed me! And in fact, you’ve made my week! Keeping up with blogging can be difficult at times, and these past several weeks have been so busy that it has been extra tough. But if God can use a post to encourage a wonderful friend and writer like you, then, it’s all worth it. 🙂 Thank you for blessing me today! You are a gem! God bless you big time! ❤ and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This ‘Pick-Me-Up’ is so worth a second read and reflection, it really is very powerful Lynn.
    – Thank you so much for putting your thoughts into words, and sharing them
    (especially when you were feeling unwell – do hope you’ve recovered from the virus!)

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    1. Aww… thank you with all my heart! Your kindness and encouragement mean the world to me! Yes, I am recovered, and just in time. This week we needed to help my son move into an apartment. So no time for being sick 😉 God bless you, my wonderful and godly friend!!

      Like

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