Monday, September 26, 2016

I am the Lord thy Dog.

One book I read said that dogs naturally look to their humans as a leader simply because the human is the food dispenser. This happens regardless of that human's good or bad leadership. Even if your dog seems to be wrestling for control, they're just trying to figure you and your rules out. 

But according to almost every dog training book you will ever read, you'll find a line that says something to the effect of: teach your dog that you are the most important thing in the world. That's rule #1.

Now, in essence, this means whenever they encounter a distraction or you ask something of them, they turn their attention on you. Always you.

I'm starting to wonder if perhaps, training a dog has spiritual implications.

Three weeks ago, we brought home a dog from the pound. Her name is Lucy and she has absolutely no manners whatsoever. Housebroken? No. Sit? Stay? Come? Nope. Nada. Nothing. A blank slate it ever there was one. So I've been attempting to teach her. But perhaps I'm learning as much as she is, if not more - she's still figuring out how to walk on a leash.

Training Lucy, I'm reminded of that hymn... Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. When we walk down the street and another dog barks, she always strains at the leash and whines. It's nigh unto impossible to get her attention back until we round a corner. And whenever there's a sound outside, she goes into a barking fit.

What Lucy doesn't understand yet, is that I've got her best interests at heart. Judging by the barking dog's manners, I know the meeting wouldn't go well. And those noises - I know whatever it was, it's not going to hurt us. If only she would listen to me, everything will be okay.

She drags when we go for a walk. At least for the first few blocks until she grows tired. I can stop, tell her to sit, and refocus her attention, but she'll go right back to tugging once we begin walking again. As the dispenser of all good things (i.e. treats) I reward her whenever she heels. But she forgets when we initially begin our walk. Pulling doesn't get her anywhere.

I think that we too forget that our master is the most important thing in our lives. And he is the giver of all good things. But in the moment, we surge ahead. I can help you God! Do you hear that noise? We should do something about it!
Man makes his plans... but God directs his steps (Prov. 16:9).
God is sovereign, there is nothing that is out of his control. Nothing he isn't already aware of.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
So, if God is in control - if he looks after us so perfectly - then why do we strain, so eager to get ahead, when his timing so so perfect?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight
(Prov. 3:5-6).

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