We have the cutest dog ever. At least I think so.
Look at that face! Isn’t he just adorable?! 🙂
Balto has been a part of our family for about five years now. He’s a Shiba Inu. Shibas are known to be very intelligent…and also very stubborn. This past week we saw that stubborn streak very clearly!
It all started with the extremely low temperatures we were having. Balto sleeps inside our garage, but loves roaming the property, chasing off squirrels and rabbits or sniffing through the woods. He wears an electronic fence collar which works great for him. He learned very quickly, and at the first warning beep would back off and stay within his boundaries. The frigid cold drained the battery on his collar, which he soon discovered didn’t beep or shock. So off he went, gleefully exploring the neighborhood. We got another battery, but in the meantime he managed to get out and about several times. Even after we thought everything was all fixed up, he was still slipping through.
After a week of this, I was sick and tired of dealing with it. Twice, neighbors brought him over. Several times I’d come home from work and play with him awhile. As soon as I turned my back and started inside, he’d run right through, ignoring my calls. It all came to a head one evening when Jay took him for a walk around his boundary, trying to teach him all over again…except…his collar popped open, the dog bolted…and my poor husband got shocked. Needless to say, Jay was very angry. He drove around looking for Balto, and, when he couldn’t find him, came home. But instead of giving up and waiting for him to come back, he sat outside in the dark and waited. After a long time, he heard a bark that sounded like Balto. So he tracked him down, chased after him, and brought him home. After fixing the dog’s collar and fence, we spent a few days re-training him; and Balto is finally respecting his boundaries again.
I couldn’t believe how stressed I was about it all. I did NOT like being outsmarted by my dog- it was very hard on my pride. And obviously, I did not want to think about him trotting around on the roads, or showing up on other people’s property. Because I love my dog, I just wanted him to be safely at home, even though he thought it was better to be running around “free”. 🙂
It was a powerful lesson for me. I was humbled by the patience Jay showed. He knew Balto needed to be home, and was willing to spend time and effort in getting him there.
But even more than that, this was all a reminder of God’s Love for me. He loves me with a pure, unchanging Love. Everything in my life boils down to that- God’s Love. I can run, I can push my boundaries, I can ignore Him, I can openly defy Him. But still, He loves me! I can’t begin to fathom that kind of love.
What is my response to this deep, unfailing, tender Love? Do I soak it in and delight in it? Do I allow it to change my life? I’m ashamed to admit that I trivialize it. I stop pursuing and loving Christ, and become restless, wanting more or better.
Just as I take a risk in letting Balto outside, trusting him to respect his boundaries, God takes a risk in me. He loves me- a sinful, failing mess. He knows that I can run. He knows that I can offer a half-hearted response. He knows that I can become lukewarm and rely on just going to church or spending a few minutes in prayer or devotions with Him and pretend that it’s enough. But He never stops loving us!
“There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping out into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe Who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you.” -Francis Chan
I want to keep loving and pursuing my Father, who never gives up on me.
His relentless Love is the meaning of my life. Is it yours?