Devotional,  Life

A Lesson In Persistence From The Squeaker Toy

We recently added a fifth member to our little family- a doggie! Lyla Mae is a cute little Yorkie mix who came to us from a local shelter.

She was taken to the shelter as a stray, so we don’t know a lot about her, except what we’re learning along the way. She’s had some kind of training- potty training and a handful of commands. She’s not crazy about many treats, but loves some cheese and rawhides. One of her favorite household duties is helping pre-clean the dirty dishes as I put them in the dishwasher. And she does NOT like to be disturbed when she is snoozing, which is about 20 hours of her day.

But what she loves the most is to play fetch. I mean LOVES to play fetch. We could throw the toy back and forth across the floor for hours and she would continue to drop it back in our lap for another toss. Her speed to and from the toy may slow down as time goes on, but her determination will not.

And if we thought she was persistent in playing fetch with her rope toy, you should see her with the squeaker. Those are her jam! That thing is retrieved and dropped so fast you barely have time to breathe before she’s demanding to have it thrown again.

I’m glad we found a toy she loves so much, but eventually, between the squeaking and the constant throwing, it gets really annoying. So we hide it when we’ve had enough. This afternoon, I watched my husband hide it under the blanket, pulling a quick one. She proceeded to walk all over the house, jump in all the chairs for a better view, and go behind all the furniture- all in search of that dumb pink squeaker.

And eventually, after determining that it is nowhere to be found, she went on to plan B. Parking herself on the floor right in front of the couch where Brandon was snoozing and barking. First a little whimper bark, then slightly louder, then an all out high pitched, squeaky, Yorkie bark. Still no success.

Her final attempt to retrieve her favorite toy was to bark at the drawer in the kitchen where she knows her belongings are kept.  And of course, to make sure we heard her in the kitchen, she went straight to bark number three.  The loud one.

I sat and laughed at her persistence (and my husband’s frustration), but had to admire her drive to go after what she wanted, even if it was just a rubber squeaker.  And I was reminded of a story that Jesus told His disciples in order to teach them that about being just as persistent in prayer.

The story is found in Luke 18, and it tells of a widow who was experiencing some kind of injustice. Someone was trying to take advantage of her in some way, probably because of her status as a widow. Not having a husband didn’t put her very high in society at the time. She went to the local judge to plead her case and ask for justice. But Jesus said this judge was unjust, the kind of guy who overlooked little widows who were in trouble. Probably not a high profile enough case.

But she didn’t give up.  She knew it was an uphill battle, but she just kept on pleading with him to intervene.  The judge finally got tired of hearing from her, and figured that the only way to get rid of her was to do what she asked.  And the wrongs being done to her were righted because of her persistence. 

This particular story is a parable, which is a fictitious story used to illustrate a point that the author is trying to make.  So it didn’t necessarily happen, but Jesus was teaching His disciples about the attitude with which they should pray.  He was teaching persistence in coming to the throne of God.

We know from the rest of Scripture that God is not unjust like this judge.  He will make sure that justice is done, even if we don’t see it.  It’s in His very nature to do so, and we have to trust Him in that.

In this story, He’s asking us to focus on our prayer habits. He’s asking us to come to Him with our requests and the things that are on our hearts and plead with Him for justice to be done. I would imagine that He’s asking us to wear out our knees in prayer for those in our lives who need peace, those who need to know His saving grace, and those who need a miracle.

Sometimes I convince myself that God is going to do what God is going to do, so my prayers don’t matter. They’re really not a good use of my time. And while I haven’t untangled the whole theological ball of yarn that weaves together God’s sovereignty and our prayers, I have to trust that this story is included in His Holy Scripture for a reason. And even if I don’t understand how it all works, I should be bringing these things to Him just because He asks me to.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Each morning, on my commute to work, I’m going to wait until I make it from my house out to the interstate (about 20 minutes) to turn any kind of music of podcast on. And I’ll use that 20 minutes each day to pray for the people in my life that need to hear from God. To pray for strength in fighting that nasty habit of mine. For that one person’s heart to be softened to the gospel.

And then I can sit back and see what the Lord will do.  So make a plan today, and keep on dropping those squeaky requests right back in His lap.

Your thoughts?