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Don't miss the obvious

The Life Less Traveled

March 11, 2015
It's amazing the things you overlook when you're busy. Take my dog, Panda, for instance. My kids had been working on me to get another pet for months, and last Saturday I finally caved. Before I knew it, we were on the way to get a puppy.

A puppy! Do you know much work a puppy is? Potty training. Crate training. Chewing. Barking all night. It's worse than having a newborn.

If P.T. Barnum was right, and a sucker really is born every minute, I'm guessing most of those suckers are dads.

My only consolation was that Panda would bring some gender equality to our home. Up to this point, it was just me and a male cat living in a house with a wife and two daughters. A boy dog would finally even things out.

However, even with this in mind, I was not prepared for the sheer madness of bringing a puppy into the house. And nothing could have prepared me for what happened on Panda's first trip to the vet.

We'd had Panda four days when my wife took him in for his check-up. Four days! A few minutes into the appointment, she sent me this text.

"Um, Panda is a girl."


OK, I know what you're thinking.

1. Do you not know the difference between boys and girls?

2. Are you a complete idiot?

3. Didn't you check?

Let me take those one at a time.

1. Yes, I think I have a basic understanding.

2. Sometimes.

3. No, I was a little busy.

We were so overwhelmed with the craziness of bringing a puppy home, we never bothered to look under the hood. We were just going by what the breeder told us.

It got me thinking about how easy it is to miss the obvious when we get caught up in the busyness of life. We all go through "puppy" seasons, some that don't necessarily even involve a dog.

I'm talking about those times when life is nuts, and we're just trying to survive. This happens with new babies, new jobs, health problems, divorce or whatever chaos life brings our way.

Those are the seasons when we desperately need to draw near to the presence of God. It's when we most clearly need His peace and strength to keep us sane. Yet, because of our circumstances, we miss what should be apparent.

There is a God who loves us and wants to be the calm in the middle of our storm. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble."

In some seasons of life, it's easy to see God's activity. During the crazy puppy seasons? Not so much. So, take a cue from Panda and me. Sometimes, you just have to slow down and take a breath. Put the insanity aside for a moment and make sure you don't overlook the obvious.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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