Harry is lying on the floor, stretched out, sound asleep, exhausted. He had a close call this morning. A very close call. We were supposed to slip him in to the Groomers at 7am for what they call an express grooming. This way he would be in and out in less than 2 hours, and he wouldn't be upset or agitated, supposedly.
But we got to the groomers at 7am and she wasn't there. Harry was yanking at the leash, panting, having accidents on the floor, frantic to get out of there as soon as we got there. And lucky for him, the groomer called in sick.
So we came right home and Harry is out for the count. He will probably sleep all day, that's how relieved and exhausted he is from the sheer terror of an almost-appointment at the Groomers. Never mind that I had prayed over him all day yesterday. Never mind that I talked to him in my most soothing voice and tried to convey that his appointment with a very light and momentary affliction would be for a moment but that the benefits of a shampooing, clipping, cleaning, shaving (etc) would be for a ...well, not a lifetime, certainly, but at least it would last for a couple months before the agony would have to take place again.
The things we have to go through...and go through....again and again. Not that every trial is supposed to be cyclical. I'm convinced that I go through some trials too many times, and that if I could learn my lesson- or at least learn what I'm doing wrong or what I'm failing to do- maybe I wouldn't have to go through some of the trials I go through so often.
Then again, there are some trials that are very much part of life and part of growing and part of learning. Some trials you cannot avoid. Some trials you can. And this is where many of us ponder and reflect on what we're experiencing: is this an unavoidable lesson in life I had to learn or is this an agonizing trial I'm going through because I made a stupid mistake or I took a wrong turn and now I am going down a bumpy road and hating this agonizing experience?
I wonder if Harry looks at me with those soulful eyes of his and questions why I would torture him at the groomers every three to four months. (It should be every 2 months but you see, there I am, trying to help him avoid the trial). I'm not trying to make him go through a trial. I'm trying to help him stay clean and free of ear infections and painful matting. But he might think I'm just trying to make him go through a painful trial. I'm not- but there seems to be no other way to get him to this improved healthy state of post-grooming other than to go through the grooming experience- the trial that it is- to get to the results of the grooming.
I don't think God is big on trials. I don't think it's His modus operandi for all our growth and learning. But trials seem to be the route we often have to take to get to the results God has in mind for us. Trials come. We go through them. We kick and scream or cry or agonize. But God is not singing a happy tune the whole time, relishing our pain. He may just be singing a calming soothing tune, like I do to Harry, to help us as we go through the trial.
Let's get to the other side of this trial, shall we?- the Lord says. He is not going to leave us as orphans in a storm. He is not going to enjoy watching us agonize or struggle. He's not a Sadist. He is the Lord of the Harvest. He has fruit in mind. Beautiful fruit. Wonderful outcomes. Lasting joy. And I've got to keep that in mind...especially in the midst of any trial.