I had a lovable hound dog, Copper, for eleven, short years. Copper was a wonderful gift from God that I did not pick for myself. God taught me a lot about Himself and His faithful love through that dog. The chapter of life that Copper, God and I went through was rich and full with plenty of its share of ups and downs. Some of life’s greatest joys (marrying the love of my life and my best friend, the birth of my son) and greatest heartaches (watching my son go to be with Jesus) were shared in that chapter. We had a very special bond, and my heart was broken when Copper had to go. I was not ready for that story to end. I wanted God to let me keep my gift and physical comforter and keep learning those sweet lessons on faithfulness and love. However, God said it was time to move forward. The Copper chapter was ending.
After Copper was gone, I did not want another dog any time soon. I knew I enjoyed being a dog owner and would eventually want another dog, but I wanted to wait a while, possibly a few years, savor the memories, and in a way, hold onto the old. However, God had other plans in this as well. So, He gave me another dog and the Lily chapter begins.
Lily is so incredibly different from Copper. She is full of energy with selective hearing and does not really come across as cuddly or loving. It’s snips, jumps, and more training after a hard day of work. I still miss the Copper days of hugs and snuggles. Copper was very laid back and easy going and gave lots of hugs, especially toward the end of his life. It would be easy to get angry at Lily because she does not act like Copper, but once again I am seeing God show me some things about Himself and myself through this different, energetic dog named Lily.
She is a working class dog, a shepherd by breeding, an Anatolian Sheppard/Great Pyrenees mix to be precise. Have you ever thought about how many references there are to shepherding in the bible? That’s a thread to follow on another day, but I’m starting to ponder it.
I have been watching videos and reading everything I can on how to train Lily to be a balanced and well behaved dog. We want her to be able to live with us - that includes being able to go on vacations, go to the beach, and mingle with guests when they come over.
She is incredibly smart. I mean, she is pure impressive. However, she is also very strong willed with that selective hearing.
One day last week, while I was working on training her through running her, I was also praying, and it was like God asked me if I was listening to what He was saying through this puppy. The following is what I heard.
When I am training Lily, I know where I am going, and I know the best and safest route. I don’t stop and ask her opinion or which way she wants to go. Similarly, God is my leader. He knows the best and safest route for me to go, and I must trust His leadership.
When I am training Lily, I do not act like I care about her wishes or how she feels. I don’t ask her opinion or let her lead part of the time. However, I do care very deeply about her well being, safety, and feelings. I love it when I catch a glimpse of love, thanks, and admiration in her gaze as we run.
Just because God is not letting me chose the path I want (and right now I would not pick the path we are headed down) does not mean that He is unconcerned. Sometimes He leads beside the still waters. Sometimes He leads through the valley of the shadow of death. Either way, He is a caring and strong leader worth following, and He delights in my looking to Him with thanksgiving and admiration.