Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yet another lesson from my dog . . .

Sunday morning, as I was sitting on the couch, my dog came up to me. She put her big fluffy head on my lap and looked eagerly up at me. As I turned from what I was doing and my eyes met hers, her big bushy tail began to wag. I smiled. She was trying to tell me something.

When my dog does this it means 1 of 3 things: she is thirsty (and her bowl is dry), she needs to go outside, or she wants to go on a walk. (Though usually the request for a walk is accompanied by some arm nudging and jumping around.)

The water bowl was full and she had just eaten 30 minutes prior so I knew this was a request to go outside. “Ellie, you’re so cute. I love when you tell me what you need,” I said in a slightly sing-songy voice as I headed for the back door.

And it hit me.

God loves it when we tell Him what we need.

Dogs are fairly easy to train. You teach them to come to you when they are thirsty, hungry, in need of a bathroom break, or eager to roam free. This is important otherwise they’d be lapping up the toilet water, messing on your rug, or escaping for a dangerous “walk” of their own.

Even the most autonomous dog is aware of his dependence on the master. They know where to go when they need something. Do we?

So often I think we settled for toilet water when God offers living water (John 4). Our thirst drives us to despair, dumb decisions, or empty addictions before it drives us back to Him. And yet:

“As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1-2

So often we wander around in our waste, our mess, trying to find a way to clean it up. Sometimes it is only a last resort that we ask to be let out, set free (Luke 15). Or we hold things in – hurts, worries, fears, doubts – until we feel as if we’ll explode. It is only in desperation that we go to God and pour our hearts out to Him. And yet:

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

As for taking a walk with the Lord, we’d rather take the lead. Or wander off on our own. (Again, Luke 15.) We find keeping pace with Him laborious and would rather go our own way. And yet:

“This God -- his way is perfect; the promise of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30

Again, I have learned from my simple canine friend.

God loves it when we tell Him what we need. Go to Him. Rest your head on His lap. Let your eyes meet His. Tell Him what you need. Let Him quench your thirst, relieve your burdens, and lead you. And watch Him smile.

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