I have a 170 pound “blue” great dane named Lloyd. He is a big boy, and as we have traveled with him across the country, and are now temporarily housed in a small condominium, I have learned a few things from my gentle giant! I was concerned at how he would travel and adapt to all the changes in his life, but I am pleasantly surprised to report that as long as he is with my husband and I, everything in his world is fine. What does this teach me? I am not great with change and not knowing what will happen next. But I have a God who is with me all the time. He knows my every move and thought, and if I rely on Him for guidance and trust Him with all the new things in my life, my world can also be “fine!” I try too hard to try to manipulate all the circumstances in my life, but if I can learn to just be happy to be in the presence of the One who created me, who has my life in His hands, I can be content wherever I am. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” This is a promise I can count on, and move confidently into the future as I see His plans for my life unfold.
Despite having no yard and a strange place to sleep, Lloyd is still genuinely good-natured and seems to “go with the flow.” He patiently waits for me to take him outside, and we have daily jaunts to the local dog park. He lets me know that he is ready to go play, by placing his very large head directly in front of my face as I read or work on my computer. He is hard to ignore, and I am happy to go with him as he runs free in the beautiful foothills of Colorado. How hard is it to “go with the flow” when life is unsettled and you don’t know what’s next? Taking each day as it comes, and only being concerned for what is right in front of me for today is a good lesson to learn. As it says in Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our sweet boy doesn’t worry about tomorrow. He knows I will take care of him, and he trusts me. I want to have that same trust in God, and seek His kingdom and the ways He wants me to live my life one day at a time. I don’t want to miss today because I am wrapped up in worry about tomorrow. I want to make my life count right now, and be intentional about living what I am called to do in this life.
So even a dog can teach us lessons about life. Lloyd doesn’t need much – a soft bed, food in his dish and water in his bowl. He needs to go on walks and run free once in a while. But when I take him to the dog park, he has to wear a muzzle because he has twice swallowed tennis balls whole, and has had to have surgery to remove them. I can’t risk that happening again, so he is muzzled for his own protection. He knows that when I put the muzzle on him that he gets to go play in the park. He doesn’t really like it, but lets me put it on him because his experience has taught him that it means I am taking him out. Sometimes we have to face hard things in life, but often it is for our own good. We may need to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced for a while. But in the end, the lessons we learn and the growth we experience help us mature and expand our faith. We can still trust God, even in hard times. I am grateful that I have some time to reflect on these things right now, and can glean lessons from our crazy dog. I can be happy just to be in God’s presence every day. I need to live in the moment, and not worry about what might happen next. When hard times come and I don’t like them or understand why they are happening to me, I can be reassured that God is on my side and will help me through every struggle. 1 Peter 5:10 tells me this: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” To God be the glory today my friends! And thanks for giving me a big dopey dog to teach me about You, Lord!!