I haven’t done a “Things God Taught Me Through Animals” post in awhile, so here ya go…
As we all know, animals can be instinctive and sometimes pretty clever, but in actuality, they really aren’t very smart. Example: Neo, our very large black dog*, tries to get in the garage any time he can—after which he either attempts to position his very large furry body on the welcome mat or he stands, tail furiously wagging, and asks with his eyes to enter our comfy abode. Sometimes, when his puppy dog eyes make me feel guilty, I will acquiesce and let the gentle creature enter, but more often than not, I will order him out since he has his own dog-cave in the lower part of our detached garage (for those of you unfamiliar with dog-caves, they are just like man-caves with many of the same amenities—except they are for dogs. Neo has Grandpa Twedt to thank for his very comfortable pad). Or sometimes, I force him outside because it is sunny and beautiful and I think the dog should breathe fresh air rather than gasoline fumes from our vehicles. Either way, when I tell him to leave, I don’t explain all these reasons to him or try to convince him that I know best. All I say is “Neo, out.” And if Neo chooses to disregard these words of authority, I say, “Neo, obey!” and then he knows I mean it and he saunters out sadly making sure to look back before he steps over the threshold to show me how incredibly horrible I have just made him feel. I choose to speak simply to my dog because I know that he is not able to understand the reasons that I am exiling him—and if he did understand, it probably wouldn’t make sense to him since his goal of joining us in the house trumps all of his other aspirations.
Sometimes I think God talks to us like we are dogs.** He uses words we know and can understand, “Wait”, “Trust”, “Obey”. But there is so much meaning behind those words that we cannot yet comprehend. His way of operating is so infinitely beyond anything that we can imagine were He to take the time to explain His purposes for allowing this or that in our lives, I have a feeling much would be lost in translation—for His ways are not our ways, His thoughts not like ours.
In the same way that Neo needs to obey me when He doesn’t fully understand, I need to trust the Creator of the Universe when I want to see the future. God needs not explain His infinite, sovereign ways because my finite mind couldn’t grasp them anyhow. I just need to be satisfied with what I do understand: Wait. Trust. Obey.
Father knows best.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
* Neo, though technically operating with the IQ of a 2 year-old, teaches me lots of things as well…check out his lessons which start here
** This idea is not entirely my creation, I used some ideas I found in Practical Theology for Women and ran with them…good stuff!