Lessons From My Dog

Psalm 119:131 – “I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.”

About 1 1/2 years ago, my brother Randy phoned to let us know that he and his son had become allergic to the new dog that they had bought. He knew that our son Chris wanted a dog for his tenth birthday. Chris was now nearing eleven-years-old, and there was no dog in his horizon. Randy asked if we would consider taking their dog, as a gift, for Chris. We did. And, wow, did our life change.

Dogs are a tremendous responsibility. There are vet bills, and kennel bills. There are late night runs to pick up dog food, because we need to make sure that Muffy (that’s our dog’s name) gets fed. There are walks in the neighborhood to make sure that Muffy gets her exercise. There are endless games of fetch. She loves to run after a tennis ball, and will do so as long as someone is willing to throw it to her. Then there are the unexpected runs through the neighborhood, when Muffy flies through the front door because it’s been kept open too long. She loves the game of run away from my owners, and see if the rather large dad in the house can catch me. At least, that’s what I think she calls it.

One day, when Muffy was still a puppy, and wanting to wake up at 5:30 AM, I decided to take her for a walk. We wanted the kids to stay asleep. So, I started the walk. Her little legs were running ahead of me. She wanted complete control of where we would go. I had decided to take her on a two-mile loop through the neighborhood. She had other ideas. So, I went with it. We walked, and walked and walked. 6 1/2 miles later we arrived at Wooddale Church. It’s a drive that I take almost every day of my life. But, until that point, I had never walked it. It was the furthest Muffy had ever walked.

She was panting by the time we reached the church. As good as the exercise was for her (and for me) she was exhausted. Her mouth was agape. Her tongue was out. She was panting. She was desperate for some water. She had even lapped some up in puddles along the way. She was also ready for a break. I held her in my arms when we arrived at Wooddale. I found a bowl and filled it with water. She lapped it up. I filled it again, and she lapped it up again. As I held her, she was content. She just wanted to relax.

In Psalm 119:131, David talks about opening his mouth and panting for the Lord’s commmands. He paints the picture of a thirsty animal, who won’t be satisfied until his thirst is quenched. It’s the type of passion that God wants us to have for His Word. He desires our worship and adoration. He desires our time. He wants us to want Him.

And, just like my dog was satisfied with water, and being held in her master’s hands; so will we be satisfied as we are held in our Master’s hands. In John 4, we read the story of Jesus and a Samaritan woman, who is drawing water from a well. Jesus tells her that He is thirsty. She offers Him a drink. In the climactic verses of the text, Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Christ wants to satisfy your longing soul. Three chapters later, in John 7:38, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

May you have streams of living water flowing in you.

Dear God,

We tend to chase after so many different things to find satisfaction in life. Help us to remember that true satisfaction can never be found apart from You. May we experience the streams of living water that you talked about in John 7:38. May the satisfaction in our lives, make You look good to the world around us. May we be satisfied with nothing less that You, and You alone at work in us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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