Last weekend I enjoyed the gift of taking care of my grand-puppies.

Hope and Meshach (or affectionately nicknamed Meshee) arrived with boundless energy which offered excitement and exhaustion to my soul. I am thankful Sam and Emily live close by so that I could help and enable them to celebrate their two-year anniversary over the three days; plus, the puppy-loving brought balm to my heart as I continue to miss Joy’s presence.

In efforts to expend a bit of the energy of these two playful pups. I took them on several walks. I created a two mile journey with them, which we enjoyed several times throughout the weekend. On Saturday morning as we walked I noticed that Meshee walked a bit more slowly. As I watched him, he often looked behind himself along the path.

I felt at times as though I was dragging Meshee. Because of the tug on the leash I stopped to look behind me. Meshach had stopped. I looked down into his dark eyes and he just stared at me. He looked at me and looked behind himself, then looked to me once again. I beckoned, “Come Meshee, you can do it. Let’s go.” Yet, he remained with paws planted along the path. His eyes seemed to convey fear, unease, and insecurity. He did not want to proceed inspire of my gentle coaxing.

While Meshach refused to move further, Hope tugged from her leash pleading to explore more stretches of grass. Once I realized Meshee was not going to walk another step, I decided to pick him up and carry him close to my heart while walking Hope. As I carried Meshee, I reassured him that he was not alone; he was okay; nothing was chasing him; he was safe with me. Perhaps he needed reassurance of my presence and protection. He seemed to settle down and enjoy being held for a portion of the walk.

Skittish – easily scared. unpredictable. nervous.

Eventually, I placed Meshach down upon the path and the three of us walked a bit further before he stopped and we did this all again. He seemed skittish as he exhibited unpredictable and nervous behavior. All in all, the walks over the weekend became a routine. The three of us began walking together, then Meshee would get skittish and stop in his tracks. Each time I would pick him up and carry him for a portion of the walk before setting him down to walk on his own a bit further.

As I carried Meshee (yes, I was one of those people carrying their dog and a dog walk), I noticed the gentle stirring of God within my soul. I wondered about the ways that I live skittish. As the sun beamed upon my face I allowed my soul space to consider with God and wrestle with the realities of skittish living in my life.

I realize that it is far easier to dismiss deep thoughtful reflection with God. I make excuses to deflect the necessity of this practice. How often do I just settle for surface level engagement with questions of this magnitude because it is “too hard” to allow the Spirit of God to convict my soul and bring about confession and cleansing? How often do you settle for surface level engagement with God?

Think for a second. What causes you to feel afraid or nervous? In what ways do you respond unpredictably to life’s situations? Take care to authentically consider this within your soul.

Much in life entices us to live skittish. Work demands. Relationship strife. Financial concerns. Health questions. Household responsibilities. Service opportunities. Expectations. Obligations. Trauma. Unrepentant sin. False narratives. Unmet longings. Family dynamics. Biblical confusion. Church unrest. Global pandemics. Philosophical differences. Academic pressures. Judgmental attitudes. Peer pressure. Misunderstood communication. Temptation.

Though skittish thoughts, feelings, and behavior reside within each of us, God offers a very sweet invitation. Just as I spoke kindly to Meshee affirming his abilities and my presence with him, God kindly speaks to us through His Word and presence within our soul swearing His unconditional love and peaceful presence into the unsettled and unresolved.

Throughout the Scriptures He promises His eternal presence with us and help to us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Jesus declares the assurance of a helper, advocate, and guide through the companionship of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-27). We are not alone when we feel skittish.

In addition to words of presence and help which we receive from the Bible and the Spirit within, the Lord also extends comfort, conviction, compassion, cleansing, and care for us in our skittish moments (1 John 1:9, Matthew 11:28). I held Meshee, carried him along the path, and spoke words of truth and care. God does the same for us. He often carries us through the storms of life speaking truth, mercy, and grace.

Have you ever thought you just can’t live one more day, but some how remarkably, you wake up the next morning alive and somehow proceed through the rigors and demands of the day? I suggest that is when the God of the universe carries you. Just as God carried Israel in the wilderness, He carries you through those desert and dry seasons of life: “and in the wilderness, where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 1:31).

God provides strength to the weak, hope for the discouraged, and peace to the unrest. He meets us in our skittish moments and speaks truth and grace. The Lord our God picks us up when we feel uncertain, carries us for a bit, and then encourages us to walk again assured of His faithful companionship.

Go for a walk. Picture yourself walking with Jesus and when you notice those skittish moments, realize and imagine that He picks you up, holds you, settles you, and then releases you to walk again, stronger and confident in His presence within you.

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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Isaiah 40:11 – He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…

Isaiah 46:4 – Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Max Lucado. God Will Carry You Through. Nashville, TN. 2013.

Max Lucado. You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power. Nashville, TN. 2020.

Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Elevation Worship. In Your Presence.

Phil Wickham. Battle Belongs.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming speaking engagements.

November 4 –
Lancaster, PA – Black Rock Retreat Fall Annual Banquet. Gary and I will speak together.