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Lessons from the Leash

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

I became a first-time dog owner in my late 40's. Not wanting to leave a puppy alone at home when I'm off to work, I looked for a bonded pair. I figured out real quick that my two puppies love to go for walks, and being of the hunting variety, they want to explore where the grass is taller, in the hope of catching a mice or other creature.

One day we went walking along the side of a farm road and I patiently allowed them to sniff and explore along the taller grass under the fence. After a while it was time to turn back, we crossed the road and, of course, they again went straight for the tall grass under the fence. However, this time I decided I would not allow them to explore the grass under the fence.

It has occurred to me that, to them, I was as a god: Vastly more intelligent (I like to flatter myself on occasion), and as for the difference in power; I literally control when they eat, what they eat, where they may go, and when. I even hold power of life or death over them. Of course, God does not control us like that, I'm just pointing out the difference in power. But back to the walk in question. I, in my capacity of their lord and master, declined their 'prayers' to be allowed to explore this fence as well. The way a dog on a leash pray, you know, straining with all their might. But to no avail, I was not in a prayer answering mood.

'Be mad at me,' I thought, 'but you are not exploring there.' This incident happened not long after I got them and I still had much to learn about the difference in dog and human behavior. I figured that, as we do when our fervent and earnest prayers are not answered, they will sulk, be angry, or at least be upset with the one who was supposed to have answered the prayer. After a while they gave up and lo and behold: no angry snarls my way, no sulking. They continued happily with their walk, tails wagging, leaving the fence alone.

I learned two lessons that day:

  1. How to respond to unanswered prayer. (Accept the 'no,' or at least, 'not yet,' answer without feeling let down or angry; and continue happily with our walk with God.)

  2. How God must often feel when He does not answer our earnest prayer the way we want Him to. For I so wished that day that there was a way I could have explained to my puppies with their limited understanding - the concept and purpose - of an electrified fence.

May you trust, and be just as thankful, when God says 'no,' as you are when He says 'yes.'



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