It was a beautiful fall day.
One of my most treasured activities in life is being able to take my big dog, Nina, out for walks.
Nina is a greyhound/lab mix. She’s pure white and absolutely stunning.
Being the mix she is she loves to run! Sad thing that it is she is getting old, 11 right now, and her poor body can’t keep up with her puppy like mind.
On this gorgeous day I decided to find the nearest dirt road. The dirt road we found wasn’t often traveled so it made for a perfect spot to let Nina off the leash.
Honestly, I love just being able to let her run. She’s always happier when she can go as she pleases. Aren’t all dogs?
Nina isn’t typical though.
Her and I have worked together since she was just a pup. She knows my commands, my voice, and respects me as her human (as long as there aren’t other dogs around…Nina eats other dogs regardless of size).
Back to the walk this particular day…
We were alone on the road. Nina was walking just in front of me like I prefer. As we are strolling along she glances back just to be sure 1:I’m still there and 2:She’s still obeying as instructed. But dogs will be dogs.
Soon she finds a smell she hasn’t smelled before and she starts veering off to the center of the road. I reply to her wandering with a short command, “NO.” She comes back to the side of the road.
We are back to our stroll with her where she is expected to be.
Remember when I said she loves to run?
Soon we see a squirrel. Well, if you know dogs you know that them seeing a squirrel is like the best play time ever!
In the blink of an eye my speedy little princess zips from her expected spot in front of me further down the road and into the trees and after her little play toy.
I give a quick short command, “Come.”
Nina returns, reluctantly, to her expected spot.
We go back to our peaceful stroll.
Soon enough a car happens toward us. Since I dislike putting her on a leash I give her a command, “Stay.”
This command tells her to fall back to directly by my side and walk in step with me until I give her the go ahead command which is, “Go.”
Walking with Nina reminds me of our walk with God.
In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. -Psalm 3:6
Teach me your way, Oh Lord; I will walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. -Psalm 86:11
As Nina and I were communicating back and forth that day in our usual manner it hit me.
Here we are. Walking in the Lord’s ways. Learning from him and his word. I mean…we are doing pretty good with staying in the will of God. Until…
SQUIRREL! Haha! Just kidding!
No, but really. We get sidetracked. We veer off the path he set out for us. Something catches our attention, or sniffer in the case of Nina, and off we go on a new (what we perceive “more exciting”) adventure.
What would happen if I didn’t correct Nina?
If I weren’t to correct her she would continue on her own path, probably wind up all nasty and gross from swamp water, and possibly get lost for a while until she could remember where she was supposed to be.
She would probably be frightened and then worried that she wouldn’t be able to find her way back to her human.
Isn’t it the same with God?
We veer off the path he has set before us and we end up getting into something that causes a mess in our lives. After we are lost for a little while in the nonsense that doesn’t feed our souls and fill our hearts we can’t remember where we were supposed to be. Once we do remember we are a little frightened and then worried that maybe we are too far away from God to ever get back to where we once were.
If Nina were to run off while not heeding my command there are a few things that happens:
1). She stops what she is doing for a second. 2). She listens 3). She remembers her humans voice and where she is supposed to be 4). and she tracks that voice back to the path she is supposed to be on.
And what does her human do? She chastises her first for running off then she loves on her because her human is so happy that she is safe and back on the right path.
The same goes for you and I.
We get lost now and again. We veer off the path God has set out for us. What do we need to do?
We need to stop, listen, and recall the voice of our God. He never stops calling to us. He calls to us until we can find our way safely back to him. We just need to pause, listen, and obey.
Once we are safely in his arms again there might be some discipline and then there’s so much love. He wants nothing more than for us to be wrapped in the fullness of his love and stay on the path that keeps us in his will.
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. – John 10:3-4
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; let your good spirit lead me on level ground. -Psalm 143:10
“In those days and at that time,” declares the Lord, “the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the Lord their God they will seek. They will ask the way to Zion, turning their faces in it’s direction: they will come that they may join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” – Jeremiah 50:4-5