Last fall, we had the bright idea to get a new puppy. It was a moment of weakness, I must admit. The puppy was from a rescue organization and we were taking the boys on a stroll through a park where the rescue organization was set up for the day. Gibby, our puppy, was only a few months old at the time. One of the rescue workers gave him to our youngest to hold (total sucker ploy!) who immediately cuddled up with the puppy, which we were told was very "docile". Whatever!! Several months later our Gibby has grown up big and strong. He's part Black Lab and part Pit, so he chews everything, jumps on everyone, and causes mayhem among our other three animals when he's in the house. Therefore, Gibby is primarily an outside dog.
Unfortunately, we don't have a fenced in backyard, so Gibby is tied to a lead out front. The problem with this is that there are also three rosebushes, two (now one) small trees and a couple of big shrubs that also dwell in the front yard. Gibby is not what anyone would call a "smart dog". Without fail, shortly after he goes outside he's tangled up around a tree (note that we only have one now), a rose bush, or a shrub. And I'm not just talking wrapped around once or twice, I mean several layers of lead wrapped in different directions around two or more elements of landscaping. It's infuriating to spend twenty minutes untangling that mess, dodging thorns, poop and brambles, only to have him wrapped up again ten minutes later!
My general response to finding Gibby tangled up in a mess of his own making is this:
"Aargh! You stupid dog!! Why did you do that? I am NOT untangling you again! Maybe now you'll learn not to get yourself into this mess, Dumb (fill in the blank) Dog!!"
When I came home from church Sunday to find him tangled up, yet again, I wondered if this is what we look like to God. How many messes have you made for yourself in the past year chasing something you thought you needed? How many times have you been tangled up in something and called to God, "Please help! I'm stuck!!" Like my dumb dog, we never learn to stop running in circles.
Luckily, as always, God's response is so much better than mine. I don't think God ever calls us stupid or dumb. I don't think he says, "I told you so!" or leaves us straining to break free from the web we've stuck ourselves in. No, I think God patiently and gently comes to us each time, slowly leading us back around the thorny bushes, brambles, poop and trees that have caused us to become trapped. He puts us back where we need to be, each and every time. Each and Every Time!!! There is no place we've gone that God can't lead us back from. There is no knot too strong and tight for him to unloose.
Jeremiah 5:22- "I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail."
Psalm 46:1- The Lord is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Blessings and Peace,