We have a little puppy Teddy, and he has separation anxiety if anyone in his pack disappears from his sight he gets really agitated and starts barking.
This gets a little annoying as he will follow you to the toilet, and even wants to come in the bath with you.
Being young and full of energy he also is desperate not to miss anything fun, alert watching for someone to do something he can join in with, like putting on your soaks, which he loves nicking the other soak and running around the house with (not fun when you are in a hurry to get out the door).
Interestingly, Teddy our puppy, has taught me a lot about me and my relationship with God.
First thing he taught me was about seeking God’s presence, how often in the busyness of life do I allow God to slip from my sight and vision without even noticing. Am I as hungry for God’s presence in my life as Teddy is hungry for ours?
Do I actively seek out God’s presence, or do I just assume he’s there, do I try and ‘keep sight’ of him all the time in my daily life? Even, maybe even especially, in the mundane, the ordinary and the boring. The monk Brother Laurence talks of ‘practicing the presence of God’ -seeking him out- in everything, and he writes of discovering God’s presence as he worships him when he is peeling potatoes, cleaning toilets or washing up.
Too often in our Christian life, we talk of ‘waiting on God’ as something very Holy, but I suggest that if we use the image of the puppy, then I would suggest that ‘seeking God’ is a better course of action, one is very passive waiting the other is actively searching him out, again the sniffer dog on the hunt for a scent is not a bad image, relentlessly looking following the trial.
We have the promise of Christ who tells us that when we seek we will find him, the book of Isaiah also tells us that “whether you turn to the right or to the left you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way walk in it”.
Moses says to God “if you don’t go with us, what will distinguish us from all the other peoples of the earth” -being people who are in God’s presence is noticeable. Moses when he came down the mountain had a face that shone. People could see something of God on Moses.
In the book of Acts’ it talks of Peter and John and says “they saw they were ordinary unskilled men who had been with Jesus” -being with Jesus was visible in their lives.
Yet the puppy sometimes reminds me that although they are great at seeking presence they are not always so good at obeying instructions, which sadly sounds like us all at times.
A challenge not just to seek Gods presence, but to do what he says.
I wonder maybe we should run obedience classes for Christians, I know that the £60 we paid for Teddy was a bit of a waste of cash as he doesn’t listen, perhaps God sometimes thinks the same thing about us. Seek me, listen to me and then do what I say.
The problem I have, and probably lots of us have, is in trying to do the right thing we can often get the wrong idea, a bit like Teddy nicking my soaks. He thinks he’s helping me! Yet so often we run off with a sock ‘a part of the picture’ rather than seeking the full and whole picture.
When we go for a walk he often runs on ahead of us, and then has to wait for us to catch up, I wonder do I sometimes run ahead of God. Instead well trained dogs ‘walk to heel’ in other words walk close to their master, just slightly behind them to follow them, listening out for their masters voice.
To use to dog picture, this is how I want to be, not running off in the middle of the field holding a sock with a confused look on my face.