Thursday, November 3, 2016

Two Lessons from a Morning Walk with Sadie

I was walking with Sadie this morning, as I do most mornings.  We were on the backside of some farm fields.  There were little misty clouds of fog hanging over the lower part of the fields.  The fields had growth and stubble that was just tall enough that Sadie could not see across the field as well as I could.  As we walked I saw a small group of deer.  Most of them were right next to the woods, but one was standing out from the rest, farther into the open field.  Perfect!

Sadie loves to chase deer and the exercise is good for her.  But when they are standing right next to the woods over a hundred yards away, Sadie has learned there isn’t much point in getting excited because as soon as she starts sprinting towards them they will disappear into the woods.  But a deer out in the open, now that is a lot of fun.  Sadie is really fast and I’ve seen her catch up with deer when she has a chance like this.

I told Sadie I saw the deer.  She tensed up and alerted all at once.  I don’t think it’s the word “deer” as much as the hushed, urgent voice I use at times like this.  I could tell that she couldn’t quite see it.  So I stared in the direction of the deer and started walking slowly out into the field right towards it.  The deer hadn’t noticed me despite the fact that I was wearing a hunter orange hat (for safety, it’s hunting season!).  I stepped on some dried up vegetation and the deer heard me.  It turned to run.

I said, “Go get her, girl!”

Sadie took off like a bullet.  All the muscles in her doggy legs were straining.  She was entirely focused.  And she was running in the wrong direction.

Lesson #1:  God can see what we can’t, so it’s really important for us to learn to follow His guidance.

Practically speaking, this means reading your Bible a lot, going to church to worship and serve a lot, and praying a whole lot.  The more we know God, the better we will be able to discern His guidance accurately, and the less energy we will waste running in the wrong direction.

Just a few minutes later on the same walk we were going down a little path into some woods.  Around here if you see woods it is probably because the land is too low and wet to farm.  But since it hasn’t rained for a couple of weeks, it was dry enough for Sadie and I to head down into the woods a short ways.

As we were walking, just a very short ways down the path (perhaps ten yards) a raccoon stepped out right into the middle of the path.  It turned and stared at us.  Sadie tensed again.  She was ready to go.  Now, I love to watch Sadie chase things, since that is what she was designed to do.  But I didn’t want her chasing a raccoon.  This raccoon was quite large.  Sadie would almost certainly be on top of it in just a few seconds.  Sadie would want to play.  I seriously doubt the raccoon would have the same idea, and the last thing I wanted was for Sadie to be bitten or scratched up fighting with a terrified raccoon.  

I said in a loud, stern voice, “Sadie, no!”  I turned to walk away from the raccoon and I was so thankful when Sadie turned and walked away with me.

How did Sadie know to listen to me?  I wish I could tell you that she is just naturally that obedient.  I suspect it has more to do with the fact that two times in the last two years while we were walking we encountered another type of small mammal.  On those occasions I also said, “Sadie, no!”, but she didn’t listen.  She paid for her disobedience (and so did our family!).  The small mammal on those occasions was a skunk!  Ever since the second skunk, I’ve noticed that Sadie is more willing to listen me.

Lesson 2:  If we don’t learn to pay attention to God’s voice and follow his commands, we will pay a price.  We might end up smelling terrible and making everyone around us suffer for a while. If we are part of His family, God will eventually teach us to obey.  The faster we learn, the less we (and those around us) will suffer the consequences of sin.

May God bless us and teach us all to listen to Him and obey!  God knows more than we do.  God sees things that we can’t see.  His commands are never designed to harm us, but rather to guide us and keep us from harm.

You may see other blog posts with lessons from my dog, Sadie, here and here. (She’s a very theological doggy!)

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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