My Dog’s vocabulary is bigger than mine.

God uses nature to show us who He is. It’s everywhere in Scripture.

And so, I’ve noticed that my dog’s relationship with me is an allegory of my relationship with God.

Elsie at the beach. 2015.

I am to Elsie as God is to me.

Elsie is to me, like I am to God.  I said in an earlier post…

But it occurs to me that she may be smarter than me. Compared to my vocabulary with God? Hmmm. Does she understand my language with her better than I do the dialogue I have with God?!

In thinking about this, I remembered how our relationship began – she was a tiny puppy — and what I started teaching her from the beginning.

Elsie was absolutely helpless to start with. Puppy food? Volatile stuff, isn’t it? That kind of meal ‘produces instant results’ sometimes.  So she had to do her ‘business’ on newsprint inside the house for a while. And then we had to learn to ‘take it outside.’

As a Christian youngster, it was very confusing. Many years later, as a prodigal son returning to faith, it was even more so. For a season, anyway. Thank God for other believers who let me be messy during that time!! They wiped my nose, they coached and corrected. I love them for that.

NO. Was the first instruction I gave my dog. It seems like this was also the first instruction I understood from the Lord. “No. This is wrong.” I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I understood that there was a relationship between good and evil and that good was okay and bad wasn’t.

COME. Was the next instruction I taught Elsie.  God also called me, I responded as a child would with tears. I also did what dogs do sometimes (not Elsie though!) — I ran off, I was disobedient I wouldn’t come when called. Disappointingly, this went on for years!

STAY. Was probably the very next skill Elsie and I worked on. She has a little difficulty with this. I chalk it up to a short attention span.  I’m exactly like this in my relationship with God.

SIT. Elsie is so well liked by dog friendly people when she’s sitting at attention. It like this for me, now that I’m regularly in Church. There’s very little distance between my understanding of my need and my willingness to be “present and accounted for”

HEEL. (Or Walk) For some reason this remains confusing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t … there are so many distractions.  Elsie just has to pull at the end of the leash to check as much “pee mail” as possible. Her compulsion to understand the world goes against my desire to walk gracefully toward our goal. It might only be a quick visit to the cash machine, but it would be so nice if she’d just focus on me and make it easier. I’m like this with God. Totally.

Elsie also has some compulsions she is entirely unable to control.  Barking at doorbells ringing on TV just makes us laugh now. In the past we tried to help her understand that it was phony, and there was no need for alarm.  I’m so much like this with God, it astonishes me.  There are many things happening in the world – in fact I see the same stuff over and over – that I feel alarmed about. But God? For Him it’s just part of the program. Stuff never happens in His program that isn’t in the script.

Yup, the analogy holds.  I am to Elsie as God is to me.

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