I learn a lot about God—from my dogs.
Last Saturday I took our Morkie for a walk. He’s 12 pounds of stubborn, fearless, and a little bit stupid. This dog runs toward cars, barking and baring his teeth, as if those motor vehicles are a threat to my safety rather than his own. What can I say, my dog would take a bullet for me. He’s just that dumb.
So, knowing his tendency to put himself in precarious situations, I protect him, like any good dog owner would. I hook him to a retractable leash, which I allow to go slack when no dangers are in sight. He enjoys the freedom to run and wander, sniffing trees and smiling into the wind with his tongue lolling out. Such a happy dog.
But—when a car, or a bicycle, or another dog comes into sight, I rein back the leash and keep my puppy close.
Naturally, he hates it.
He responds to constraint by lunging forward, choking himself on his harness and scratching paws into the grass just for a chance to gain an extra inch.
It happened on Saturday as we rounded a corner onto a shady sidewalk. I shortened the leash, my pup fought against the tension. But what he didn’t know—and I did—is that the foliage lining this particular stretch of our route is notorious for housing burrs. After the first couple incidents in which I had to scissor those nasty pricker balls out of my poor dog’s tender leg fur, I vowed never again. Mom will prevent the hurt!
What feels like bondage to my dog is actually a blessing, meant for his safety and comfort.
And it dawned on me—that’s my relationship with God.
When He pulls back my leash, I assume God is ruining my fun, squashing my dreams, or somehow punishing me for whatever I’ve done wrong. So I resist! I beg for freedom, whine and complain.
Do you do that, too?
A short leash looks like every kind of “no”—an unexpected illness, cancelled plans, financial hardship, getting passed up for the job or the team or the scholarship.
God’s been yanking on my leash for years now over our dead hope of building a house. Why won’t He just give me a little slack?
Ah. Because He knows something I don’t.
God sees the burrs in the foliage.
He protects me from harm.
And He’s protecting you, too, in a thousand ways every day that you and I can’t see or imagine. We just have to trust He knows the way—the dangers, the detours, the destination—so much better than we do.
And He’ll lead us safely where we need to go.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)
Last night when my family took our pups out for their daily walk, I thought about how God is confusing sometimes yet still so good to us. How many times would we have run into oncoming traffic if God hadn’t locked us down, told us to sit and stay? Scolded us, even, just to get us to obey—for our own stinking good.
He’s the best protector, Abba Father.
Let’s learn to be grateful for the leash.
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