A young woman adopted a stray cat. To her distress, the cat began to use the back of the new sofa as a scratching post. “Don’t worry,” her husband reassured her, “I’ll have him trained in no time.” She watched for several days as her husband patiently “trained” the new pet. Whenever the cat scratched, the husband deposited him outdoors to teach him a lesson. The cat learned quickly. For the next 16 years, whenever the cat wanted to go outside, he scratched the back of the sofa.

It is easy to think you are training an animal to do a certain thing when in reality you are training him to do something completely opposite. My daughter’s dog barks when someone comes to the door. Of course, she appreciates this useful trick. But she has since realized that he also barks whenever she answers the phone. Apparently, the operative word is “hello,” since this is what she says when she responds to the phone or the door.

When it comes to our lives, sometimes God is trying to teach us something, but we stubbornly refuse to listen. We have our own ways of doing things, and it can be difficult for us to change. Yet God is much more patient with us than people are with their animals. He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. He will continue to teach us. The question is, will we continue to learn?

Quit sweating, quit wrestling. It is not try but trust. – John G. Lake

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder