Today @ The Gathering: When a Bulldog Speaks, Listen!

Many years ago I lived in Huntsville, Alabama and while there, I worked for an engineering firm that contracted out to NASA.  In the first days of my employment I met one of the most unique people I’ve every met.  His name was “Bulldog.”

Bulldog was a 93 year-old janitor, which means he was born in the 1800’s in the South.  And you can only imagine what atrocities he had seen.

He told stories about his grandfather being lynched when he was just a small boy; about his father being beaten and being refused admittance to the hospital just because of the color of his skin.  Bulldog himself walked with a limp from a beating he had received when he was just a teenager.

Bulldog was illiterate, poor, 93 years old and worked as a janitor. Yet he was the happiest, most vibrant and radiant person I’d ever met.  And to this day, I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who makes me smile more when I think of them than Bulldog did.

When I met Bulldog I was a young Christian.  And I found, in Bulldog, a mature one.  What I saw in him that day, that I’ve been trying to learn all these years, is to trust God with everything, all the time, without exception, no matter what the atrocity or adversity.

So today @ The Gathering we talked about what Bulldog taught me.  Bulldog always quoted bits and pieces of Psalm 37.  He would say the Good Lord taught not to fret, to trust and delight; to commit and be still.  Out of this pattern of trust came what I call, The Bulldog Principle.  There are three parts to it.

1. I will never sour. Bulldog had every reason to be bitter at the world, but he wasn’t.  He was happy.  Why?

  • Because I am loved. You and I are loved by God, and His love is always more than enough.
  • Because I am blessed. God’s love has brought me all of His blessings: the blessing of being alive, of being adopted, of being redeemed, forgiven; of being reconciled.
  • Because I am called. I have a purpose, a destiny, and a goal toward which I am moving, and one for which I’ve been well-fitted and gifted.

2. I will never settle. Why?

  • Because I serve a big God.
  • Because love always finds a way. And love is indeed God’s motivation.
  • Because anything is possible with this big God.

3. I will never stop. Why?

  • Because I have a lot to learn.
  • Because I have a lot to give.
  • Because I have work to do. I will never stop growing, never stop stretching, never stop aspiring to greatness. Why?

All as an act of trust.  Trust is the thing God blesses, and the only thing God demands.  Some think it’s obedience and keeping the rules.  And those do have their place.  But it’s trust that separates the righteous from the wicked.  And it’s trust that God longs for, trust that God accepts, and trust that God rewards.  Every time I’m tempted to question God or to give up and to ask a long string of “why’s,” I think of the Bulldog Principles.  And I make a commitment all over again to never sour, never settle, and never stop. How about you?

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