My puppy, Reggie, is afraid of the garage. She loves going outside, bounds down the stairs no problem, trots out the garage door like the happiest happy camper imaginable, but ask her to come back in and, well. It's an ordeal. She plants her feet and refuses to approach except in increments of approximately six inches at a time.
Multiply that by twelve bathroom trips a day, and I'm sure you can see why I didn't get a blog post out last week.
What's incredible to behold is Reggie's inability to connect her positive experiences with her anxiety. Once inside the garage, she bounds happily inside the house and loves to be indoors, snuggling with someone. Once outside the garage, she bounds happily into the yard to murder a stick. But the in-between phase—the garage that gets her from point a to point b—remains a source of unconquerable fear. How many times will she have to have a positive experience before she starts trusting me in the garage?
Or, for the sake of the spiritual parallel we all know is coming—how many times does God have to bring blessings through our fears before we trust Him in our spiritual garages? Our dark places? Our struggles?
It's easy to be frustrated with Reggie, but hey, at least she's adorable. You and I don't even have that going for us, and we put up even more of a fight. Time and time again, God shows His goodness in our lives, in small ways, big ways, whatever ways—you know what His provision has looked like in your life and you don't need me to remind you that He has been there at every turn. Why, then—if we know that His goodness is waiting on the other side of struggles, if we know that His goodness has preceded our struggles—why can't we believe that His goodness will still be at work within the struggles?
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. ~Psalm 23:4
God promises to be with us in the frightening present, just as He was with us in the past and will be with us in the future. His presence permeates the timeline of our lives, and with that presence comes goodness, grace, mercy, and unfathomable love. We can trust that in our darkest valleys. We can trust Him in the dark, cold, anxious garages of life. Reggie will figure that out sooner than later. The question is, when will we?