Ah dogs. A “best friend” to men, women, and children across the globe, as well as history. Their unconditional love, lack of prejudice, grudgeless disposition, hilarious antics, and notable personality causes us to fill up space on our cameras, phones, and win prizes on America’s Funniest Home Video. It’s hard not to love a dog.
We have two right now. One named Tucker Thor that my pastor husband has made note of many times in a sermon. He’s a small, neurotic Maltese mix that we rescued many years ago, whose name hasn’t helped him get one ounce bigger outside of his own viewpoint. He is tenaciously protective of the home and his family, and has more love than his licking tongue can express to his family. Every time one of us walks in the door, he runs frantic ’til he finds a toy to bring us, like a little gift for returning to him. His addiction? My lap in the morning while I read…or popcorn. But given the smallest changes in his environment; a visitor, people who walk past our home, a noise outside, or a piece of luggage that appears, he goes on red alert, shakes uncontrollably, shrieks when he barks and the most potent anti-anxiety medicine available to dogs doesn’t phase him whatsoever. We’ve tried everything…and for our own safety and to prevent his heart from exploding, he no longer goes in the car with us.
Then there’s our Wheaten Terrier/Shih Tzu mix named Cookie. A Canadian import that’s stolen my heart. She’s the most laid back, lovably irresistible fluff ball I’ve ever owned. There’s nothing about her that’s aggressive or domineering, so she follows Tucker’s every action and tries to imitate anything he does. If Tucker barks, she barks; if he growls, she growls…but looks around for what she’s supposed to be upset about. They even manipulate side-by-side for what they want. But Cookie is the best “follower” for any alpha dog owner. The two of them get along better than any two dogs possibly could. The only time Cookie makes an independent decision, is when I leave my coffee cup. I’ve found her muzzle deep inside my brew more times than I can count.
This morning, I wanted my two furry kids to stop barking and complaining at everyone who wanted to get out and walk, so I gave them both a small bone, put some almond butter inside it and shut them in their crates to prevent a mess and provide some quiet. Once they both stopped licking and chewing, I opened the doors and immediately they both scooped up their own bone and bolted to the other dogs crate to see if they could get a second one.
I was watching a video yesterday of people at Walmart. There was a woman shaking from head to toe, shrieking orders and complaints at an employee, obviously overwhelmed with anxiety as the environment in her life has changed and an intruder is threatening “home” and family. The amount of alcohol in her cart could never help her soul from shaking uncontrollably and there will never be enough food to make her feel safe. Then I saw a whole pack of others behind her, all riled up, barking the same way, looking all around for things to throw in their own cart. I hear there are even videos of people getting violent with each other, including attacking an employee as they were opening cartons of toilet paper for everyone waiting.
My husband and I have trouble saying no to our dogs when they look at us with longing eyes, or Cookie does her human pose and sits on her backside and cocks her head. The three of us rarely say “no” unless it’s food not good for them or they’ve been given plenty and we say “enough.” Their animal nature is to hoard, look out for themselves, and take from the other. They would fight if left to themselves. But because of how they are loved, and how they have experienced many years of good care and provision, they don’t ever fight each other. Never once.
I hope the same can be said in these days of the family of God. We’ve been so well provided for and taken care of. The world we know we are Christians by how we love. Love in action. He told us in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
So, I am sure you don’t even need to try and manipulate the Lord to supply all your needs like my dog does to me. Those “wants” in our life may go to the wayside…but your needs? Never. Phil. 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”