This, as most of you already know, is my furchild Ellie. After 8 weeks together, we’ve grown pretty close. Really close actually. I’m rather obsessed with her.
And amid the early morning wake-up calls, naps in the car, runs around the house, and meeting lots of new faces, we have somehow found time to get this little stinker potty trained. After 4 weeks together, at only 12 weeks old, she was mostly potty trained. I may be bias, but Ellie is the smartest puppy I’ve ever known.
Taking tips from more experienced dog trainers, we decided to use the “bell method” for training Ellie. Basically, we hung a bell on our door for her to ring when she needs to go outside.
After seeing this image several times, some things started to click.
When Ellie decides she wants to go outside, she runs to the door, rings the bell, barks, and sits down, continuing to stare up at the door. If I don’t respond immediately, she goes through the routine again, continuing to ring the bell and bark until she hears me coming.
No matter how long she has to continue barking or ringing, she sits there by the door, knowing I will come.
She is persistent. And she is trusting.
As I listened and watched her, I was reminded of the story Jesus told in Luke 11:
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
His friend will not rise just because he is a friend, but because of his persistence he answers his call.
There have been many times that Ellie has rang her bell at inconvenient times. Sometimes, I’ve continued in what I’m doing, hoping she will stop ringing and barking, thinking she must be ringing it simply to go out and play this time.
But because she continues to bark and wait at the door, I stop what I’m doing to let her out. And she continues to sit and wait, because she knows I’ll always come.
If we, as humans, adopted this attitude in our relationships with God, it could radically change our lives.
If we ran to Him with every decision and hardship and complication. If we sat at His feet, continually knocking and seeking. Not praying once and hoping He’ll answer, but beating down the gates of Heaven continually, knowing He will answer us. Knowing He will come to our rescue.
This is the very attitude Jesus calls us to when He tells the parable above. In the verses following the parable Christ proclaims:
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Ask. Seek. Knock.
What would our lives look like if we ran to Him, knocked repeatedly, and continued knocking because we knew He would come?
What if we went to Him boldly and confidently, rather than timidly, as if we aren’t sure if He’ll be thankful or annoyed that we’re asking again?
What if we prayed continually, trusting He will answer in the right way at the right time?
Even though Ellie knows I will come, she doesn’t stop after ringing her bell and barking once.
Sometimes, I think we feel like once is all it should take. Almost as if we think repeatedly asking God for something makes us seem like we think He isn’t listening or isn’t willing to answer unless we beg.
But asking, seeking, knocking, pleading repeatedly is exactly what God asks of us. The repetition shows dedication. It reveals how pressing the issue is on our hearts. And it shows commitment to wanting His help and a willingness to wait for it.
We continue asking, seeking, and knocking, not because we are doubtful that He hears us, but because we are confident He will come in response to our pleading.