But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Job 12:7-8
Job knew it; the animals and the natural world teach us about the works of God. Children and pets are a natural; wise parents utilize the bond to help young ones grasp valuable lessons such as responsibility, compassion and nurturing. Caring for the needs of animals is a characteristic of those who live in right relationship with the Lord. (That doesn’t mean elevating animals above humanity—that’s another topic altogether!) Our children have enjoyed animals in our home since childhood. Lately, though, I have been learning much from our youngest instructor, a one-year old boxer named Scout.
When my morning devotions are wrapped up, I try to take Scout for a walk. Along the way, I spend some time prayerfully dressing for my day. Before I put on my armor (Ephesians 6:11-17), I don the undergarments from Colossians 3:12-16. As I work through my list…mercy, kindness and gentle strength, Scout often shatters my quiet requests. Seeing a squirrel (or perhaps a moth), he throws his 70 pounds at it with joy. Gentleness seldom makes it as my first response! I love that God deepens lofty truths with tiny intruders like moths. My good intentions are worthless without the power of the Spirit—because just like my dog, I am easily distracted.
Scout teaches me about my walk with the Lord in other ways too. At home, in the quiet, I am the love of Scout’s life. Watching me cook in the kitchen or curled on the couch next to me, his soulful eyes speak volumes. Or, if need be, he talks to me with groans, yowls and barks until I “get it.” When I delay too long at walk-time, he’ll deliver the leash to me. Yet on that walk, I continually have to remind him that I am in charge. Sad to say, he reminds me of my walk with God. At devotion time or when I’m worshipping or studying, my eyes are fixed on the Lord. I see Him so clearly; I know Him so well. Then, I go out into the world to live for Him—and I chase things I should not, eat things that are not good for me and ignore his restraints. God remains gentle and patient with me. I am learning, and so is Scout. One day at a time, with good intentions, mistakes and mercy, our relationships grow. How are you learning from your pet? I’d love to have you share below.