A friend of mine showed me a Youtube video song about “God and Dog”, by Wendy Francisco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H17edn_RZoY It’s really quite cheesy and yet incredibly profound (especially if you are a dog owner). I was blessed this summer to get a puppy from very good friends of ours. She is a golden retriever with 1/16 lab and she is beautiful!
Through much of last year, the Lord was teaching me about His promises for me in the Book of Deuteronomy. He started opening doors and answering prayers that have been years in waiting, the house that we bought with CrossTrainers to start the discipleship program was the first huge answer, as was my car that God provided, and the puppy. So, as God seemed to be leading me into a Promised Land, I could not get the name Jordan out of my head. I felt like I was crossing the Jordan with Him into a brand new territory that He had prepared… so my puppy’s name is Jordan.
She has been so great! I’ve been able to take her to camp with me and she was so awesome with the kids, she did our booth at Carrotfest in Bradford (our local town fair) and drew half the people to our booth just to pet her. She’s been a huge blessing to me. What I didn’t really expect was to learn so much about God from her. I mean, He is the master teacher so He can use anything, and He has my attention with this little furball! Lots of people make jokes about how cats think they are to be worshiped and dogs will worship you…I used to try and stick up for my cats, but now that I own a dog I think it might be true!
It’s been a new learning curve for me, I’ve had lots of cats, and really, you can’t train them to do much… but with the puppy, training had to start from day one! I got the crate to start crate training, I had to start house breaking her right away, going outside every two hours, every time she woke up, every time we played or she ate… learning to walk on a leash, learning to jump, sit.. everything took time and consistency. That was the key; consistency. You had to go over and over something, reward her and do it again. And if some one tried to teach her a different signal or word it just confused her. Then as we started back to our fall routines and our staff meetings started up, I was reviewing our leadership lessons from last year, and the number one thing a leader has to be is consistent! We train people all the time through the way we react, speak, behave… and when it’s not consistent we confuse them. Just like Jordan, my actions need to be consistent and reliable so those who I’m leading know what to expect from me, and what I expect from them. No wonder dog training classes are mostly for the owners!
But beyond my own lessons in how I need to act, her unconditional love for me blows me away. It truly is like a piece of God’s heart is in a dog in how they love their owners. Jordan will sit at the front door if I have to leave, and my roommates tell me she will stare after my car, and then lay down and wait for me to return. She often falls asleep there. How many times do I do that to God? I walk away, put some distance between us and He just waits. He never leaves, just waits. And then (this is my favourite part) when I get home, she jumps up and is so excited to see me! She won’t leave my side, her tail is going crazy and she has to show me how much she’s missed me. And then there’s God. Never condemning when I return, just open arms to hold me tight and tell me how much He has missed me. Oh if only I could understand how He loves me!
And then, the joy I get when I’ve been away, or even just inside the house and come out to get Jordan, and she comes bounding across the yard to me when I call. It does not matter what kind of terrible day I’ve had, I can’t help but break into the hugest smile and collapse in front of her to pet her. In the story of the prodigal son, the father doesn’t just wait, he runs to meet his son. God runs to me! If my heart swells to see my puppy run to me, I should be undone thinking that my God does the same!
Perhaps some of you are thinking, wow, she overanalyzes everything! But if everything that has breath praises the Lord, and creation testifies of Him, I’m pretty sure I can learn how God loves me through my puppy! I dare you to come meet her and tell me otherwise!