By Eric Myers
I wrote this piece several years ago, before my dog passed away, as I thought of my relationship with him and how it might be compared to God's relationship with me. I need all the reminders I can get in my daily life of how I am loved by God, even when I fail to meet my own or what I perceive as God's expectations. When I fail to remember how God loves me without reservation, I miss feeling the security of being enveloped in His embrace, and I tend to be judgmental of myself and others. I can't imagine that God could be happy just thinking about me, but it was the way I felt about my mutt, and that is how Jack Frost described us: we are each, in a unique way, Father's happy thought. Wow!
Expressing Love for my Dog
My wife and I have a little dog who is such a joy to be around. He looks like hundreds of other little dogs, but I know the things that are distinctive about him, and take delight in all the ways he is unique and special. I love holding him on my stomach and scratching his back from head to toe, and how he pauses in his efforts to lick my face because he is so distracted by the joy of having his many itchy spots scratched. I am happy to give him this pleasure, and know that it increases his love for me all the more.
If I can receive so much joy in feeding, protecting, and giving good things to a humble terrier mutt who was once a stray, how much more must my loving Savior Christ take pleasure in protecting, providing for and showing love for me, his unique creation.
My Dog is Lost Without Me
When I go out, whether it be for 10 minutes or 10 hours, my little dog spends much of his time waiting, often splayed out on his stomach with his feet out behind him and his chin on the floor between his paws, pointed toward the door through which he trusts that I will eventually return. When I do, his excitement is displayed first by a mad rush to the window where he puts his paws to steady himself as he scans the yard; then he runs around barking with desperate urgency for anyone who will listen. When we are finally in the same room, he jumps up and puts his paws on my leg, as if to say “there, I’ve rounded you up”
If a little dog who could learn to love anybody who pays attention to him could be so excited to greet to and spend time with his master, how much more should I be excited about spending time with Christ who created me; who knows all of my troubles and needs, and has sought fellowship with me from my birth.
My Dog is Concerned About my Moods:
I have been known to react to what I hear on the radio or see on television, and occasionally raise my voice in frustration about news coverage. Whenever I do that, my little dog becomes very concerned, looking up at me wondering what is wrong and if I am mad at him, and whether he can do anything to make things go better for me.
If a little dog can have such sensitivity to my moods and be so concerned about my ups and downs in spite of his lack of comprehension, how much more must ABBA care what is going on in my life and want to help me learn through it and use it to draw me closer to Himself.
My Dog Patiently Waits for Things he Loves
When I’m sitting at the kitchen table eating something that is appealing, like ice cream, my little dog will silently and patiently wait while I eat my whole bowl full, feeling certain that if he waits long enough, his patience and faith will be rewarded.
If a little dog, who generally is impetuous and not very patient, can wait with expectation and without complaint, how much more should I patiently and faithfully (with prayer and thanksgiving) let my requests be made known to ABBA, who is infinitely good.
My Dog Seeks my Protection:
Whenever I sit down on the floor, my little dog will come over and look for a spot between my outstretched legs and make a nest out of it. He feels comfortable and protected there, and knows I will pay attention to him.
If a little dog knows that he can approach me and will always find comfort and protection, how much more should I be assured that approaching the God’s throne of Grace will bring the comfort and assurance I seek?
My Dog is Loveable just Because he is Mine:
My little dog doesn’t have to do anything to earn my love. There’s hardly anything useful he could do anyway except bark when someone is at the door, but that doesn’t matter to me. I love him just the way he is. His purpose is to be my friend and to bring me joy just by being himself, but because I show him love, he yearns to please me. I love spending time with him and observing the ways in which he reacts to his world.
If a little adopted dog can be of such great value to me that I would give up any material possession in exchange for him, how much more valuable am I to ABBA - not based on my performance, but because He created me and calls me both son and friend.
My Dog Inspires Great Tenderness in me:
My little dog gets very anxious and often trembles when something is going on in his world, or in his body that he doesn't understand. If he is fearful, he will sit, even on cold terrazzo where he is loath to sit, and look up at me plaintively with just the end of his tail twitching. I invariably reach down, pick him up, and hug him to calm his fears because I love him so much. Sometimes I think God made what I call His second greatest invention so that we as humans could get a glimpse of the love and tenderness that our great God has for us, even as flawed as we are.
If a little dog could inspire such tenderness in a flawed and distracted human being, how much more could our expressed fears and concerns inspire a tender response from our loving, all-
My Dog and his Friendships
My little dog loves to spend time with his friends and gets terribly excited at the prospect. If my dog sees one of his friends from a distance, or peering through a fence, his eyes fix like a laser, his tail begins to wag furiously, and his chest heaves as he begins to whimper with excitement. He looks up at me with eyes begging to be let off the leash, and when I comply, he is off like a shot. It gives me enormous pleasure to see him so passionate and delighted to be with his friends.
If I derive so much pleasure from seeing the joy my dog gets from his friendships, then how much more does a loving God receive joy from my friendships with others, and with Him.
My Dog Looks to me for Care
My little dog occasionally gets a burr or a thorn in his paw, and immediately begins to favor the leg. It hurts me to see him limping, especially if he looks up at me for my help. Once I bend down and, as gently as I can, remove the offending object, it is wonderful to see him resume his purposeful walk. Healing his hurts is one of the reasons he trusts me so.
If a little dog fails to comprehend the limitations of my skills and believes I can do anything, how much more should I trust ABBA whose power is limitless.
My Dog and his Father
My little dog is not unique in appearance, and he isn't strikingly handsome. He looks wonderful to me, however, and I want to do everything I can to protect and nurture him, because I'm the "father" who knows the treasure contained in those 11 pounds of mutt.
If I can have such affection for a little mixed-breed dog because I know what makes him special, how much more can Christ, who knows every fiber of my being and created me uniquely, have tremendous affection for me and want the very best for me, even through life’s troubles.
Limited Understanding of Events
My little dog gets agitated when he loses sight of the fact that our plans include him (such as when he sees suitcases and ends up with a sitter). He calms down when we return and he realizes that our plans still include being his “father and mother”
If a little dog who has little understanding and little capacity for thinking of the future can be calmed by the realization that our plans include him, I should be able to rest in the assurance that my Heavenly Father’s plans for me include a hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)