Our dog’s name is Gracie. We love her very much. She is one year old and I try to take her for an hour-long walk every day. Our walk is a cherished time for both of us. I need the exercise and release from the day’s tension and Gracie loves to be out in the fresh air with the freedom to explore. Late in the afternoon she always starts to think about our special time together. I know that because she comes to me and becomes extremely affectionate and attentive to me. When I start to get ready for our walk she goes crazy with anticipation. It’s a ball just to see her get so excited.
Gracie is half Beagle and has a strong instinct to hunt whenever she has the opportunity. So when we walk I let her stop along the way to investigate the various smells she encounters. Her leash is about 20 feet long when fully extended. So she runs out ahead of me 20 feet; stops at a pole or mailbox and starts to sniff. I try to just keep walking at the same pace. When I catch up to where she is smelling the scent; I walk right by her. Now she is 20 feet behind me so I urge her to move on and she runs ahead again and starts a new investigation 20 fee ahead of me; stops; and the process repeats again and again. When we get to an open place and I think it’s safe, I take her off the leash and let her run as far as three leash-lengths from me, but if she goes further I call her back. As long as she comes when I call her, she stays off the leash. But if she ignores me or takes too long, I put her on the leash for a while until she earns her freedom again. Those are the rules by which we operate and they work pretty well for both of us.
Last night I got to thinking about how my relationship with Gracie mirrors my relationship with God. It must bless the Lord when I am anxious to be with him. He loves me and only wants the best for me. When we are together I often run ahead of Him to see what I can discover or experience and move constantly from pillar to post. God on the other hand, just keeps moving at His own pace without an over-reaction to my frenetic activity. He has His plan and I have mine; the two sometimes seem unrelated but they are not. God allows me to do “my thing” most of the time but He has me tethered to Him and only allows me so much liberty apart from Him. I, on the other hand, am fixed on what I want all too often, but in my heart pleasing Him is my greatest desire. In other words, I am free to operate but within limited parameters which God has determined are safe for me and it is my plan to make him proud of me by the way I behave and think. The more time we spend together the better our understanding of those parameters and the more wonderful our relationship. If I am too independent, He sometimes needs to reel me in so I do no harm to myself or others. Those are some of the rules of our relationship.
I can learn all the rules of my relationship with God in two principal ways; through the Bible or by experience. Usually it is a combination of both. The better I understand the rules and operate within them, the better my life. He desires for me to be in harmony with His will but does not want to control me; He just wants what is best for me.
Gracie is amazing! I have learned how to better relate to my Lord just by having her in my life.