So I got a new pup, y’all, and his name is Jet; partially because he is all black and partially because my husband is a pilot. Clever, eh? I know I said I WOULD NOT get a puppy again because puppies are SO MUCH WORK. But I did. And I like him even though he always bites me with his sharp little teeth. Jet and I have been taking long sunrise walks in the morning and he has been teaching me some things about God. Let me share them with you this Christmas.
1. When Jet and I starting walking together, he was unsure of his surroundings and when I would let him off leash, he would stay so close to me that when I looked around I couldn’t find him. He would be so near my legs that he was almost an extension of myself. And I started to think that that’s how we should be in our own lives. Lesson Learned: We should walk so closely with our Father that we “hide in Him”. Our steps should so closely match our Father’s that when people look at us, they see Him. "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3
2. When we first got Jet, he was so new and small that I was very protective of him and kept him inside, catering to his every need. But as he has gotten older and more destructive, we have moved him to his outdoor kennel and he has adjusted well. Sometimes, when I have to leave him for hours, I worry that he will be unhappy and say to himself, “I have been in this kennel for soooo long and no one has come to visit me!” But that thinking is not accurate because dogs are not people. People can reason and worry. Dogs mostly just chew and sleep. Dogs accept their situation and are happy when someone shows up. They don’t wear watches nor think of the future because dogs are not people. Often, I make this same mistake with God. Lesson Learned: Sometimes I expect God to do things in a certain order, or work out situations the way that I believe best because I suspect that God thinks like a person. But God is not a person and He does not get anxious or tired. His mind is limitless and infinite; and when I limit God to my intellectual understanding of how he “should” act, I perceive Him wrongly. "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19
3. Jet bites me—a bunch!—with his little razor sharp puppy teeth. No matter what I do to tell him that this is a bad (and painful) action, he continues to bite and bite and bite. He does this because he hasn’t learned to control himself or his impulses. He also does it because he wants to do what he wants to do. He thinks he is the Alpha. I make him submit to me every day, several times a day, and I hold his little furry snout shut and say, “You are not the Alpha. I am the Alpha.” And then when I let him go, he bites me again. What Jet doesn’t seem to comprehend is that I am much bigger and stronger and powerful than he is—at least for now—and I feed him, or I don’t. He has no idea of the power I actually wield and choose not to display. Do we not show the same disrespect to God? Lesson Learned: God is the all-powerful Creator of the Universe, but often I forget His pre-eminence and “bite and nip” and complain about my life. I do what I want to do, and I treat Him like a glorious vending machine. God holds the power in his hands to sustain me or drop me, and yet, I keep on pretending that I am stronger. How foolish to bite the hand that feeds me! "See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39
4. I really like Jet. And Jet has made me so happy amidst my grief about losing Neo. I find joy and purpose in taking care of him and having him trust me. My life is better because I have a puppy. I am truly fulfilled. Lesson Learned: What’s to say that Jet couldn’t disappear out of my life tomorrow unexpectedly just as my last dog did? Nothing. I have no guarantee of his existence. My hope cannot be in this dog, or any dog, or any thing for that matter, except in Jesus Christ who chose to break through our time and space and be born as a baby at Christmas. This same Lord is the one who surrendered Himself to a cross so my sins could be removed and grace could be given unabashedly. If I put my hope in Jet, I will be saddened, but my hope in my God will last. "This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5
Merry Christmas to all of you from Jet and all of us!