Faithfulness, loyalty, companionship, unconditional love … I think it’s interesting that all of these traits are used to describe both God and dogs.
Over the past year we have raised our black lab Samson, the handsome one, from puppy to adult and added our second dog Ben, the crazy one, to the mix. I never thought I would learn so much about confidence, patience and anger all from a couple of dogs. But prior to this I had never really owned a dog of my own. I had grown up with pets, but I was never the one responsible for taking care of them. So when it came time to train, exercise and clean up after them it felt a bit overwhelming.
When I walk them I sometimes get so frustrated when they pull me, or rather constantly pull the whole time, that I have this sort of power struggle with them and yank them harder than I should. (You should know that when I walk them it’s on a short leash with the purpose of keeping them next to or behind me.) I know yanking them is not best practice by any means, but I’m working on. So anyways, I find myself praying a lot on walks to help me be patient and focus on being my dogs pack leader.
So the other night as we were ending our walk the dogs started acting up again, and again I tried to put them in their place. Immediately afterwards I thought how God is so patient with us that it amazed me how He deals with us even when we are rebellious and strongly pull in our own direction. But then it hit me that God doesn’t hold us on a leash. He’s given us free will and the choice to accept His love or not. But the worst part was the realization that I do more of the leash holding in my relationship with God. I try and bring Him under control to my liking and obey my every command, just like my dogs. This was shocking to me, because I had never thought about my relationship with the one who created me like this before.
But even more amazing is how God is love and no matter how much we hurt Him His love is unconditional. Just like a dog, whose minds are quick to forget and live in the moment, God is able to forgive us through the blood of Jesus and love us “in the moment” of every day of our lives. And it’s not just in walking my dog that I find myself wanting to take control over God. I am constantly having to die to myself in my marriage, at work and a lot of the time behind the wheel.
Update: The last few days on my walks with the dogs I’ve been focusing more on enjoying the walk and less on controlling them, and that’s helped tremendously. I know that practice and patience and daily exercise are the key ingredients to keeping me and my dogs happy.