12/14/06

lessons from my dog, part 2

I need to be less like my dog.

I envy her life. What does she do? She eats, sleeps, plays, runs, barks, urinates/defacates, and wags her tail. That's it. I look at her and think, "She's got it made. I wish I had life that easy."

But let's think about that for a second. What drives her? Nothing. Her desires are all she has. Instinct, and nothing more. Her body tells her what to do.

Isn't that precisely the perspective that God so vigorously decries? The appetites of the flesh, the love of the world -- these are the things we are to let go if we desire to follow Christ! Why do we idolize the lives of our pets? Our will, self-control, and capacity for rational thought set us apart.

We are much more than the sum of our appetites. But we certainly don't do a good job of acting that way. All we seem to be saying as a society is that we should do whatever we feel like.

To me, that seems the quickest way to... well... nothing at all.

And I don't know about you, but I want my life to mean something.

lessons from my dog

I need to learn from my dog. She can't stand to be anywhere but with her masters. But it's much more than keeping within eyesight. She has to be right in the middle of it all. She's most content in my lap. It doesn't matter whether or not I've just scolded her either. She is beyond loyal. Her example inspires me concerning my attitide toward God. Do I only want to sit in His lap when He is petting me? Or do I love Him after He scolds me?

Who would've thought I needed to be more like my dog?

the fight

So my wife says something very sweet and loving to me.
And then, sixty seconds later, she is infuriated with me about something else.

So we fight. But of course, she was right. And I was wrong. In her anger, she said something that cut to the bone.

But what she said about me was true. And I could not reply. It hurt, but the truth often does.

So, tomorrow morning, I will apologize again. And I will thank her for giving me a pill that was hard to swallow. Because I will have swallowed it, and I needed to. I will tell her I love her.

And she will say that she loves me, too -- faults and all.

After all, that's what marriage is. I will remember this fight very clearly, as raw as it is in my mind, when I perform a marriage ceremony this weekend. And I will love my wife more deeply. I will remember the vows I myself took as I watch a couple declare their love, for better or for worse.

And, at the request of the groom-to-be, I will declare to the witnesses there the promise of Habbakuk the prophet of God as seen at the end of the book by his name --

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

And I will remember the words of Job: "We take the good days from God--why not also the bad days?" (Job 2:10, the Message)

God is here, even in times of anger or sadness. Perhaps He is more here then than in times of blessing and joy. And He has reminded me of how much I love my wife -- enough to ask her to stand by me, faults and all.

loving God

how do you love someone as ethereal as smoke?
someone as far from you as the stars?
someone bigger and grander than all the oceans?
someone who knows you more intimately than your own spouse?

the short answer is that you don't.
at least, not adequately.

but you notice Him loving you every moment, in every thing, and you love Him back, as best you can.

soli deo gloria
(to God alone be the glory)