On my daily walk with the dogs this morning, I got another revelation about God’s dealings with me. These dogs are great teachers.
For background, you may want to peruse my two previous posts about the dogs, from April 30 and June 4, 2018. My two sweet friends are Scooter, the older brother, an exquisite Welsh Terrier specimen, and Maggie his little sister, our rescue Yorkie/Schnauzer/Corgi mix–we don’t know for sure, so I call her a Schnorgi.
Maggie remains very feisty, playful, stubborn, and demanding of attention. She’s the most vocal dog I’ve ever heard when it comes to expressing her wants and needs. She would really love to drag me around the neighborhood if I’d let her. She’s my turbo dog.
Meanwhile, Scooter, who is always very chill by comparison, has developed cataracts, and his vision is diminishing noticeably. This means that when we are outside, he is slower than ever, wanting to stop about every ten feet to listen and get his bearings. He’ll hear voices in the distance and must put on the brakes until he can make sense of what he is hearing and where it is coming from.
As you can imagine, this makes walking them together a bit frustrating for all three of us. I want to calmly lead and set the pace while listening to my worship playlist and communing with the Lord. Maggie wants to rush ahead. Scooter wants to plod along with frequent stops. It must be quite a sight at times, now that I think about it.
My revelation was that I have been alternately like both dogs. Sometimes in my relationship with the Lord, I forget like Maggie that I am to conform to his pacing and timing, and not push ahead. I don’t have to understand the route we’ll take through life and ministry; it’s much more enjoyable when I discern how to match my stride with his. And it is more helpful and edifying to those around me when I maintain an attitude of unhurried and calm confidence in his leadership.
As for my beloved Scooter, I relate to his aging process. I’m thankful I don’t have cataracts, but in the natural, I don’t see as well as I once did. I find myself relying more on my spiritual senses than my physical or intellectual strengths. I have been trending toward greater carefulness, introversion, and reflectiveness for some time now. I’m OK with this change. The author of Hebrews describes the spiritually mature as those that are “of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). I’d like to be known as one of those people.
I want to keep the energy and adventurous spirit of my Maggie. I appreciate that she’s so good at saying what she needs, and not hiding things. She’ll never allow me to become lazy and skip our little daily physical and spiritual ritual of walking together. Her sweetness and persistence keep me connected with her. I feel that God similarly enjoys my zest for life and my consistent desire to spend time with him.
I also honor Scooter’s ability to adapt and adjust to his changing capacities without becoming surly about it. He knows how to rest, how to listen, how to wait, and how to take care of himself. His intuition, patience and grace keep me connected with him. I feel that God similarly enjoys when I am quiet and slow and attentive to his voice.
These beautiful creatures are some of God’s best gifts to me. They continually point my attention back to his character and his faithful love.