THE LAST WORD

We go camping fairly often and, when we do, we frequently take the dogs with us.  Years ago we had retired racing greyhounds as our canine daughters, and they LOVED to ride in the RV.  They were quiet and never barked, even when we were in the campground.  Perfect traveling companions.

Goldie and Sweetie in Pace Arrow
Goldie and Sweetie on sofa in RV

Now, as the hounds have passed on, and thinking that greyhounds were too big for us to handle, we have two small MinPin canine daughters, Cuddles and Snickers.  I frequently refer to them in posts as they provide never ending illustrations, usually of behavior that we should avoid!

Cuddles and Snickers - did you call us
Are you writing about us again?

We have been trying to train them not to bark when we are in a campground.  That is no small task given the fact that there are people (many of whom have their own dogs on leashes) walking past the RV, there are campers coming and going, there are people talking outside around the campfire, there are just noises upon noises all beckoning the girls to bark.

For Snickers, this no-bark concept is especially difficult.  We don’t know how she was treated before coming to us, but she is very defensive and the hackles on her back raise at the slightest sound, which she then barks and growls at for an extended time.  We have used various techniques and we are on the way to getting her to behave better, but we have found it curious, and humorous, that she has to have the “last word”.

She will start to bark and we say “No bark”, she will shut it down a notch and after several rounds of this between us she will put her head down, grumbling in doggie language, with one final subdued “woof”.  If we say “No bark” after that “woof”, she will whine and then even more softly go “woof”.  It is as if she has to have the last word.

All this background is to say that, if we are honest, we really are no different from Snickers.  Consider for a moment Moses when he was saw the burning bush. The Lord told him that he was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but Moses raised numerous objections detailing why he could not do it. Exodus 3.  The final “woof” was Moses’ cry “please send someone else”! Exodus 4:13. Scripture says:

“Then the Lord’s anger was kindled against Moses.”

Exodus 4:14   

No more excuses, Moses.  Do what I direct you to do and I will be with you.  Moses obeyed, God had the last word.

We humans think we can have the last word, but in reality, it is God who always has the last word.

We are lost in sin, we cannot stop ourselves.  We may be able to do some nice things for others, but there is almost always a self-centered aspect to our activity.  We are the center of our universe, and we think that this entitles us to have the last word about anything that touches us or our own universe. 

This attitude ignores the cosmic reality that we are nothing, we are created beings who depend upon the Creator for our very life, for the air we breathe and for each beat of our heart.  Satan is ruling us because of our sinful nature, but God even has the last word in that regard.

When Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, it was not because of any sin that He had committed, rather it was because He was taking on the sin of all God’s children.  Jesus was paying that price that God’s justice demanded so that those who believed in Jesus would be saved from eternal death.  Just before He died, we read these words:

“… ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

John 19:30

Jesus did not just mean that it was time for Him to die.  He meant that the job He came to earth to do was completed.  There was nothing more that needed to be done to save His people, to satisfy the debt that they owed because of their sin.  The way of salvation was completed, it was then and it still is finished.  Sin had met its Conqueror, and God had the last word.

God will again have the last word as we see in the final book of the Bible, Revelation. 

So, Beloved, rest in the Lord.  When He is leading you to do something, do it without giving in to the temptation to try to get the last word, the final “woof” if you will.  God always has the last word.  Don’t test His patience, just raise your arms to your Father and thank Him for loving, guiding and encouraging you through whatever is ahead of you.

Father, please forgive me when I have insisted on having the last word.  Enable me to see that this is disobedience of the highest order.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would touch my heart when I am tempted to disobey and run in my own arrogance away from what You desire for me.  Enable me to love You more, through Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Redeemer.

PREPARATION, PROBLEMS AND PROVIDENCE!

When vacation time comes, we plan where we are going, what we will do, where we stay and when we will leave. We don’t plan on having any problems.

We took an RV trip this summer and we prepared for months.  We had the vehicle checked out by a mechanic who gave it a clean bill of health.  We filled the enormous tank with gas, to the happy dance of the gas station attendant.  We charged the GPS and had our campground confirmations stowed in the vehicle.  We purchased food so that the kitchen of the RV was well stocked, the refrigerator and freezer budging, and the counters laden with bread, chips, donuts, etc.  And we arranged to take two of our grandchildren with us while the other family members would join us a few days later.

In short, it was our firm intent to have fun because we had planned and we thought we were ready for anything. … God must have smiled at our childish ignorant arrogance!

RV with car
RV ready to roll with Jeep following wherever we go!

On the day of our departure, it was raining rather heavily but we were going merrily on our way down the interstate, towing the Jeep behind us, heading for Myrtle Beach. We had stopped at a rest area in North Carolina for a break from driving and a time to walk outside and stretch. 

When we began to leave the rest area, my Husband stepped on the brake: no great emergency, he just wanted to slow down a bit before getting onto the highway merge ramp.  The brake pedal went clear to the floor without breaking a sweat and, more to the point, without stopping the vehicle, but we weren’t going fast so there was no danger.   We came to a rolling stop and he pumped the brakes a bit thinking that, perhaps, they had gotten wet from the rain.

Then we slowly started off again, and while there was some stopping power, it was painfully obvious that we had a serious problem.

We limped up to the next exit ramp, which “happened” to have a Cracker Barrel with elongated RV parking spaces.  We pulled in, and came to a stop at the same time I got in contact with a 24-hour repair company I found on the ole’ Internet.  The man said that he would come to assist us as soon as he finished up the job he was currently handling.  So we waited for the expert who was going to identify and then, hopefully, solve the problem so that we could continue on to the campground 140 miles further down the road.

DSCN1810
KOA sign in South Carolina.

After couple of hours, he came in his truck with all sorts of equipment.  The jacks raised the front of the vehicle and, after looking under the RV in the very steady rain, the serviceman climbed out holding the brake line that was in two separate and distinct pieces, a situation that clearly was not good. In short, the brake fluid could not get to the brakes if the brake line was in two pieces!  His telling comment was “It is clear that ‘the Man upstairs’ was taking care of you.”

We agreed with this comment, and further noted that the Lord had certainly been gracious in preventing what could have been an incredibly horrific accident, given the propane gas and gasoline that had just been put in the vehicle’s tanks.

The serviceman exerted heroic efforts on our behalf.  He identified the problem, drove over 75 miles after calling three different places trying to find a hydraulic line that was long enough to install in the RV.  The third place he called had a line that was the right length and the store attendant agreed to stay late that Saturday night to accommodate his after-hours arrival.  Back in the parking lot, he worked until almost midnight to insure that the braking system was completely repaired and working properly.

After sleeping in Cracker Barrel’s parking lot, we got back onto the Interstate and a couple of miles down the road, long before there was any other exit, a sign informed us that there was a 7% downhill grade.  We were heading into the Green River Gorge, where the highway twisted and curved through beautiful, rugged mountains.

downhill grade sign
“Steep Grade Ahead” sign, not actual sign outside Flat Rock, N.C. but same information that we saw after getting back on interstate following the previous night’s brake repair.

Going down that long grade without working brakes would have been … bad, really, really bad.   After reading that sign and after shaking off the chills that ran down my spine thinking of the possibilities of riding that road without working brakes, I looked at my husband and said “Isn’t that just like God … perfect in His timing and provision!  Fixing a problem before we knew we really needed it!”

I should not have been surprised.  Scripture tells us that God will do this.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

In our worldview, none of this was luck.  We believe that our God knew what was going to happen and He protected us from the injury that surely would have come from driving down the steep highway without brakes in a motor home.

Our faith in God, however, is not a good luck charm nor is it a ticket to a Walmart in the sky!  God is not an indulgent grandparent that allows misbehavior because it is cute.  Indeed, we know that God does not always prevent injury, illness or even death to His own people. He has His plans and purposes above our limited understanding.  The biblical book of Job is an outstanding example of this.

What we do know and believe is that He will supply that which we need most … eternal salvation through our belief in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  THAT is what is needful.  All the rest is temporary and fleeting.

The Providence of God surpasses any planning that I could do or even conceive of … He is the Author and Creator of all.  Praise His name for His goodness to His children.  Not just in helping with a broken brake line, but in providing His Son for our salvation, for granting us eternal life, for making us His children for all eternity.

“to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Jude 1:25

Thank God for His wisdom and providence as you listen to a song from Truth Sings the Word, as they present Philippians 4:19 in a song entitled “My God Shall Supply”.

Father, I cannot begin to comprehend your omnipotence and omnipresence.  I believe these truths, but I cannot comprehend them.  I know You are with me each moment of the day and that nothing happens to me that is outside your plan, but when You present yourself in such a visible, incredible way, in such a minute activity for an all-powerful God, I am humbled and once again come to you, crying Abba Father.  I love You, I am in awe of You, and I praise your holy name.