We’ve got a dog, well, actually it is my son’s dog, that hangs around our house. That’s not quite right either, he is an inside dog so he hangs around inside the house. He is a beautiful Siberian Husky that my wife somehow managed to find in the shelter among all the lab-mixes and little shrill-barking ankle-biters. He stood out like a king surrounded by the dogs with no pedigree.
The first time I saw him on the leash, with his head held high and the lightness of his step, I knew he was a special dog. If he just didn’t have so much hair, he would be the perfect mutt.
We know nothing of his life before he came to our home, not a lot anyway. I know one thing, though. He knows that a hand can hit him. Many times I raise my hand to pet him and he winces and lowers his head expecting to get whacked. I can’t imagine what he would have gotten whacked for. He doesn’t hardly ever bark, so he never needs to be told to shut-up much less get a rap on the noggin. He doesn’t chew things up. He doesn’t bite (even though his favorite game is to chew on my hand gently while he growls and makes other weird dog noises).
He is a good dog that doesn’t need to be smacked…ever. Sometimes, he gets too rambunctious on the leash but a good tug stops that. Sometimes, he doesn’t listen so well the first few times he is told to do something but that seems to be an inherited trait that is somehow shared by the entire breed. Usually making some eye contact or changing the tone of voice overcomes this.
I wonder about his life before us every time he ducks his head and tenses up awaiting the impact of my hand before I touch him. It stirs something in my heart to see this. I simply want to pet him before I leave for work but his instinct is to brace for the worst.
I guess he is much better off than before now. He was running loose and got captured and we got him out of one of those shelter cages and made him a member of the family.
I think that many times I see some of this stuff in me. I am so much better off than I was before. But I just don’t see it all the time. Rather than run to the arms of God, I duck my head and wait for him to whack me up side my melon. When I really sit down and think about it, getting whacked, in my past experience did not come from God. He has never seen the need to inflict physical or emotional damage on me to make his point. That damage comes from me. I really need to stop acting like drawing close to God is going to get me smacked around.
Maybe life would be easier if every time I got too close to the fence, I got zapped by some electricity or took the sting of a BB on my backside. But God doesn’t work that way. If I want to go explore greener pastures or chase the neighbor’s horses, he will patiently call me back home. It isn’t God that causes the horse to kick me in the head, it is caused by me aggravating the horse.
Luke 15:13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.”
We’ve all heard about the prodigal son (It seems like I wrote this line yesterday, too, and promised to tell the whole story, but yet again, today I only touch on part of the parable). He ran away to spend his money and live a life free from rules and things he thought were holding him down. It turns out that in reality he was just being held. He found out before long what being held down was really like.
Luke 15:14 “About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.”
The bible doesn’t speak much to what the prodigal felt when he arrived home. I’m sure he winced and waited for the smack up side the head. He was willing to live as a slave rather than face the world he had known again. He must have felt he deserved to get knocked around a little, maybe even a lot.
Luke 15:22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.”
I have to remind myself that the beating I expect at the hands of God for my past and my mistakes, my choices and selfishness, is just not going to happen. It is not God that sets off the inner motion detector that puts me into panic mode when God moves toward me. This is a lie of Satan. He wants me to fear drawing close to God. He will yank and pull trying to keep me from being pulled into the safety of God’s arms. He will kick me, punch me, sabotage me, and do anything he can think of. When I turn to look at who is doing this he will be standing there with an innocent look on his face, pointing his crooked finger at God.
I must come to my senses and turn back to God and realize that I am welcome where I belong.
Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. 12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.