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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

"Here and There"
Date Posted: September 18, 2004

It was a sad week at our house. Our eight-year-old dog, a faithful family pet for over five years, had to be put to sleep.

I have to admit I'm not a dog person, but I shed a few tears. The worst part, though, was seeing my husband in tears as he put the dog in the truck for the last time. (He pretends to be a big "tough guy", so he doesn't display his emotion often.)

This isn't the first time I've lost a pet, but it is the first time I've had to explain it to my children. Our oldest son, at nearly eight, has attended funerals and has some concept of what it means to die. Our youngest, who's not quite three, does not.

My husband explained to him the day after it happened that the puppy doctor coulnd't fix Kudo and he went to doggy heaven. (Hey, it's our first attempt -- it's the best we could come up with!)

Apparently this explaination didn't sink in, because the next morning as we went out the back door he asked, "Where's Kudo?"

"Didn't Daddy explain it to you? I don't want to do this," I thought. Then I answered, "He was really sick and he went to a place where he won't hurt anymore."

"Oh," he said, "He's sleeping?"

"Yes, he is," I answered, relieved that it had been so simple.

(He wasn't through yet.) "In the basement?" he asked.

I gave a loud sigh. "No honey, he can't be here with us and where he won't hurt anymore. He can't be both places, so we let him go where he'll be happy and not hurt anymore."

That seemed to satisfy him. But it raised questions for me. It's like our life in Christ. We can't be in the world, enjoying all the fun and sometimes mometarily rewarding benefits of sin and be in the Lord. He doesn't want us that way. He can't tolerate it!

Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. No one can serve both God and Money."

Of course, we could substitute many things of the world for "Money" in this verse and it would be equally true.

We can't stay in our sinful existence and be part of God's kingdom, fully experiencing his grace, joy, and love. I sometimes forget this applies to little things that don't really seem like sins, maybe just minor infractions.

I gossiped about an acquaintance, but it wasn't malicious and we agreed to pray for her afterward. Then there was that time a couple of weeks ago when my husband and I had a rather heated argument in front of the kids. But they understand parents fight, right? Or could it be little white lie about age or income. . .

It's so easy to think "I'm a good person. I go to church. I pray, I read my bible, some days anyway. I volunteer at my child's school. I help those in need. I, I, I . . ."

The thing we must remember is it's not about "I". I can't conquer sin and death. Christ did that for me. Nothing I do can make me good enough or clean enough to stand whole before my Creator. Only Jesus Christ can accomplish that. And He wants me as part of His kingdom. To be with Him now and eternally. There, not here.

I must choose. Every day I must commit myself again to His way, His road, His work.

This week during your ten minutes, ask God to show you ways to draw closer to him and to convict you of anything you need to let go of here.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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