Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Walk with the Master

By Belinda
Psalm 16:11 (New International Version)

11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

"Bruce needs watching and handling by a strong arm. Molson goes along knowing the steps and pace."

So wrote my friend Marilyn, in a comment on yesterday's post and she managed to sum up the respective characters of the two dogs in my life  perfectly.

I hesitated to compare our walk with God to my walking with my furry friends, but I can't help thinking about the parallels often when I'm out with a dog. And since God uses the metaphor of sheep throughout the Bible, maybe it's okay. I hope so anyway!

For my first few walks with Bruce, before I "took charge," he was the one taking me for a walk. We didn't have a relationship;I was the means to an end; the end being, "walkies." But as we quickly got to know one another, our relationship grew. He wanted to please me then, and my love lavished on him in words of praise, fell on his ears like a benediction; I could tell it did. I knew he was listening and loving the experience of hitting the mark. 

To tame the more unruly aspects of his character, I had to deliver correction consistently and quickly. I am a softy, but I knew that inconsistent, unpredictable responses would be unfair to Bruce. I loved him and wanted to teach him well so that he would learn what wasn't acceptable. I gave equally quick praise for his attempts at control. 

Molson, in the photo I took on Monday, looks like he is taking himself for a walk. Being a retriever, he loves nothing more than to carry his leash in his mouth, proudly. But although he looks as though he is oblivious to my presence, he is very aware of it. He is perfectly trustworthy to go on far ahead, but he looks back at me frequently, checking with his peripheral vision to make sure I am there and he is quick to respond to a word or a gesture even from far away. His trustworthiness means that he has greater freedom.

But there are places in the walk when I need to put the leash back on. Another dog of unknown personality may be approaching or there is a busy road to cross. On or off, to Molson, the leash is his friend. He happily presents himself for it to be put on and in this picture it makes me think of the scarlet thread that ties us to our Lord and which runs throughout scripture.

The closer my relationship with my four legged friends, the greater the trust, the more pleasant and peaceful the walk.

Isaiah 42:3 (New International Version)
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

John 10:27 (New International Version)
27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

1 comment:

Marilyn Yocum said...

I know what you mean about hesitating to compare a walk with God to walking with pets, but I had two little dogs that had to be on leash - always eager to bolt out the door and not knowing enough not to dash into the street. I would see people out with dogs who could run alongside a bike or a jogger, untethered, and considered the spiritual object lesson, how I do not want to be a person God needs to keep on a leash.