Our friend Darrin is a race car driver.
One day before a race, a friend of his gave him a bright orange traffic cone magnet to put on his car, joking that he had one on his car and had never had a wreck. He called it his “cone of protection.”
When we moved to wild and crazy streets of South Florida, Darrin gave us our own “cone of protection” for our cars. It was silly, of course, but it made for a good laugh.
(We lost ours in a car wash).
On Saturday night, our family found ourselves in the emergency veterinarian waiting room with our dog Buddy.
All Buddy has ever wanted is for his family to all be in the house at the same time. He does not adjust well when we travel and he is left behind (usually with my long-suffering brother, to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude).
This summer has been an unusually busy one and Buddy is not pleased. We noticed a few days ago that he had chewed off much of the fur on this right side due to stress. We were worried that it would get infected, so we decided to take him in to be examined.
He was given tranquilizers, cream for the infection, and antibiotics…as well as a big plastic “cone of protection” of a different sort wrapped around his head to prevent him from bothering his wound.
Buddy is not adjusting well to his cone at all.
As I have watched him struggle over the past 24 hours, I have noticed several spiritual truths from his experiences.
*Once the cone was put on, Buddy was completely immobilized. He could do everything he did before but it was as if the presence of the cone caused him to freeze. He seemed to be afraid to move.
How often are we immobilized by a circumstance that floods us with imaginary fears? How often do we allow something external to cause us to believe that we cannot even move, let along finish the race we have been called to run by the very One who has gone before us?
These are lies straight from the enemy of our souls. Nothing, no one, and no circumstance has the power to stop you. Why? Because the very Spirit of Jesus lives in you!
…thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph (as trophies of Christ’s victory)…2 Corinthians 2:14.
You, as a Christ-follower, are a trophy of His transforming power and matchless, wondrous grace to a watching world.
Claim your identity and move forward in faith. Do it now.
*When Buddy did decide to move, he stumbled quite a bit because as he tried to move forward, he kept his head down. This caused the cone to drag along the ground and he couldn’t make much progress. If only he would have raised his head, he could have walked unimpeded.
When we refuse to LOOK UP and remember that God’s eternal and good purposes are always at work for His highest glory and our highest good, we stumble every time. There is more to this life than what we can see with our eyes. As John Piper says, “Our God is always at work in a thousand different ways that we cannot see.”
Choose to “look up” today by opening His Word and saturating yourselves in His “precious and exceedingly great promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Those promises are stronger and truer than anything you are currently facing. Circumstances never have the final word. God’s Word does.
*Buddy did not understand that the burdensome cone was their for his protection. If left to his own devices, he would continue to bother the wound and make it much worse. The cone serves a greater purpose than Buddy can see. That cone will allow his healing to take place.
Have you considered that your “cone” that you may be railing against has been placed there by your Savior who is passionately and tirelessly committed to your healing? The love of Jesus is not a passive love. It is fiery, all-consuming, and deeply dedicated to restoring and redeeming what is broken in our damaged hearts. If He has deemed it necessary that you need a “cone” in this season of your life, trust His heart. He can do no wrong. There is a reason and a purpose. As I have heard Beth Moore say many times, “Your healing is on the other side of this thing!” Believe it.
*Buddy is completely bereft and depressed because he has no way of knowing that he will only have to wear this cone for 7 days. Clearly, he thinks this is his sad lot for the rest of his life.
The late Women of Faith speaker/author Barbara Johnson used to say that her favorite verse in the Bible was “...and it came to pass.” No season lasts forever. Every trial comes to an end. As I tell my kids constantly, “Jesus always knows what He is doing.” Either He will change your circumstance or He will flood your heart with His grace so that you can (joyfully and triumphantly) endure it. He is always willing to give you an abundance of HIM…and He is more than enough.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through the knowledge of Him…(2 Peter 1:3)
*Buddy could not figure out how to maneuver his cone in order to get his to his food. (We never said he was the smartest dog! 🙂 ). So he just stood there and whimpered. Doug took pity on him and sat down beside him, picked up some food, and fed Buddy by hand. If Buddy wanted to eat, he had to humble himself to come close to Doug to be fed.
In much the same way, when a “cone” appears in our lives, this is Jesus’s invitation to come closer to Him. In order to do that, we need to humble ourselves and admit we need help. Standing still and whining does no good whatsoever. Our relationship with Jesus is never neutral. We are either moving toward Him or away from Him. Our flesh naturally wants to run away but that is always to our detriment. Make the decision to move in close to the only One who can truly help and offer real comfort. His heart is kind towards you. His intentions are good and noble. His goal is nothing less than intimacy with you.
He carries you close to His heart (Is. 40:11)
He is near to you when you are brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18)
He speaks tenderly to you. (Hosea 2:14)
He desires to see your face and hear your voice (Song of Songs 2:14).
He wants to give you rest and restore your tired soul (Ps. 23:2-3)
Whatever you are going through as you read this, trust Jesus.
He is in absolute control.
His timing is perfect.
He is at work for good in your life. Always.
And maybe pray for patience for my family as we spend the next week with a dog who looks like this: 🙂