Faith Life

Off leash dogs and the Lord

border collie dog
This is Tippy.

I am writing this post past my bedtime while waiting on my dog, Tippy, to come home.

She took a little stroll to somewhere this afternoon and I was sure she had been picked up or had run away because she normally stays pretty close to the house. After a search and some worry, she showed back up looking as fine as frog hair.

She stayed in all evening but I knew she needed to potty before bedtime so I let her out and stood at the backdoor…and watched while she bolted for the front of the house.

I called, she didn’t come back. I called more, she didn’t come back.

I live out in the country and I feel pretty certain she will come home when she gets tired of smelling stuff but, right now, she is gone and I have to worry about all the things that could happen while she is without my guidance.

I was feeling really annoyed about the whole business. Why would a dog who is so well cared for choose to leave my yard and face all that danger?

I hope if someone sees her, they determine that she is just wandering and not that I’m a bad owner.

As I thought this over, I realized that I am just like an off leash dog.

How so? I’m glad you asked.

When she was given to us by someone who rescued her, she had scabs in her coat, her ears had been filled with ticks and she was a little thin.

We took her in, cleaned her up, and potty trained her. She hasn’t missed a meal and she sleeps in a warm house.

I can’t say warm bed because she has destroyed the last three that have been put in her kennel.

She also started eating the bottom of the recliner…

And yet we still love her.

We want to protect her and care for her. We want to hang out with her because she can be a great little dog. She is very smart and I worry I won’t help her live up to her dog potential.

How does she repay this? By tearing up the furniture, destroying dog toys and running away for a few hours to get in her “me” time while I wait on her and call and call, just hoping she will come home.

It hit me when I asked myself, “why does she wander?”

The lyrics to one of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the words came to my mind. The last verse of that song says

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

The truth is I have to fight hellishness with every breath.

And, I don’t always win.

Even though I know I will be fed and taken care of, even though I know there is immeasurable power in God’s presence when I am under His command, I am prone to wander – away from God, away from what He wants me to do.

I am prone to eat the furniture and destroy things He cares about.

Make no mistake, just like my dog is still mine right now, I believe I still belong to the Lord even when I am running full speed away from Him, (yes, I do believe that once you are truly saved, you are always saved. Nothing can take me out of the Father’s hand.) but I want my way!

And, just like with my dog, I hope that if people see me acting a fool, they will judge me, not God. He doesn’t fail. I do.

Sometimes, I just want my space and freedom…

And God calls and then waits patiently while I smell stuff and roll in dead animals.

He waits to welcome me home and put me to bed and feed me tomorrow.

Are you running?

Are you living in a spirit of rebellion? To put it more plainly and get rid of the “church talk”, do you know what you are supposed to be doing and you just aren’t doing it?

Just like I won’t wait up forever, I don’t think God waits forever either.

Today could be the day of peace. Today could be the day of comfort. Today could be the day of homecoming.

My prayer today:

Lord, I ask that you help me to recognize areas where I am rebellious and give me the faith and strength to give all I am to you. Help me to come when you call. Bless the person reading this post and give them ears to hear your truth. Help us to show love to one another and behave in a way that pleases our master. In the sweet name of Jesus, amen.

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