As much as I enjoy teaching from the Bible, it often amazes me how God uses all of creation to help guide us in truth. For a few years my wife and I owned two Labradors at the same time. One was a black Lab named Cade and the other a chocolate Lab named Chazzie. Both were rescue dogs with Cade having been a part of the family for over a decade in total. Cade is gone now as is the case for all living creatures eventually. But during his life as a great pet to his human owners he also taught some behaviors to his younger dog companion.
Observing two dogs in their natural behavior has provided me with lots of entertainment as well as a few life tips. For instance, Cade loved chewing on sticks. Sometimes he would pick one up in the yard and Chazzie would grab the other end. She wanted to play but he wanted to enjoy a chew toy. Cade would start growling and then Chazzie would growl. Then Cade would start barking at her and she would walk away with the stick. It was a great reminder that the best way to win an argument is to keep your mouth shut.
One day I was walking the two dogs when God used them to teach me an object lesson. Where I live has a wooded patch nearby that has trails blazed by ATV’s. Adjoined to the wooded patch is a sizeable farm field. It’s a great place to walk a dog.
I took the dogs to the wooded trails and released them from their leashes. Cade, also referred to as ‘Old Dog’, would not go further than he could see me. Chazzie, being considerably younger, followed her nose to explore a variety of exciting smells. The main trail in this area loops back around and so I kept walking with Old Dog following close by. It was shortly after we were out of Chazzie’s sight that she began barking for us. I called to her but she was too confused to follow my voice. As I continued the path with Cade by my side Chazzie’s bark became more high-pitched. It was only a short time before the path looped back to where she was. She ran to me as soon as we were in sight. For the rest of the walk I was nearly tripping over Chazzie as she would not stay more than a few feet from me. Since that day my dog has been very good at staying in visual range of me when out for walks.
I think that God has given us an amazing gift of freewill. In a sense, those who are Christians are unleashed. When Jesus paid the price for our sin on that cross he freed us. No longer are we held in chains by sin. We are not leashed by laws and commandments. Now we have the freedom to walk with God. It happens sometimes we follow our own desires, like Chazzie following her nose that day, and we momentarily lose sight of Father God. When that happens we may feel alone and lost so we cry out to God. In confusing times it may be that you hear the Lord’s voice but are too scared to move toward it. Because of his great love and faithfulness God always meets us right where we are if we continue to call out to him. It is the times that we keep our eyes on the Lord that freedom is truly complete.
Rev. Burt Schwab