Walking my dog is teaching me about God

Several months ago, my family decided to adopt a golden retriever puppy named Max. While I’ve been home this summer, one of the ways I’ve been able to help my family is by walking him. The coolest part of these walks is the way God has been revealing Himself to me as I’ve observed Max.

When describing Max, the word “energetic” is an understatement at best. We barely get out the door, and he’s already pulling and tugging on his leash, eager to run free. While I try to keep a strong hold on his leash, I laugh at how confident he is in his ability to navigate and control himself through our often traffic-heavy neighborhood.

Max, as he runs after each distinct scent or distracting noise, is completely oblivious to the walking route I’ve planned for this day or the traffic or other dogs that could hurt him. He doesn’t understand that this exercise is for his health AND his enjoyment. He only knows what he sees or hears or smells right then, and he’s ready to chase it with everything he’s got instead of trusting me to guide him.

After all, I’m the one holding the leash.

My amusement is soon followed by a deeper realization. Not only is Max unaware of my control, he is unaware that he is unaware. (Yes, you read that right.) Most of the time, he’s not defiantly trying to take control away from me. He just has no idea how much greater my knowledge of our neighborhood is, because my brain is on a completely different level than his. I can’t explain it to him or try to show him, because he just can’t fathom the depths of my thoughts.

Sound familiar?

If this is true of me and my dog, how much more foolish is it when we try to control God’s plan for our lives?

I know my neighborhood, but God knows every street in every city in every country in the entire world. I know the route I’ve planned to walk for the next 30 minutes, but God knows every step I will walk and every breath I will take in my entire lifetime.

And we try to convince God that we know what is better for us than He does?

We know better than the God that created the very circumstances we’re trying to control?

Luckily, this analogy isn’t a perfect picture of God’s sovereignty in our lives.

I get frustrated with Max for running after distractions. God is crowning me with steadfast love and mercy as I do the same.

I get angry with Max when he tries to take a wrong turn (and take me with him!). God orchestrates every turn in my life — and even the ones that seem like “wrong turns” are God’s way of alluring me to Him so He can speak to me.

I throw up my hands and wonder what in the world Max is thinking when he misbehaves. God has searched me and known me — every single misbehaving thought I’ve ever had — and still shows compassion to me as His child.

The bottom line: God is more patient and sovereign than you or I could even begin to understand. Most of the time, we are unaware that we are unaware of how great and mighty He is.

Trust God with your present and your future.

He’s the One holding the leash anyway.

Psalm 8:3-4

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