You never know where life’s precious lessons are going to come from. More often than not, they come from observing the actions of others. In my case, my observations yesterday were not of people, rather they were of two dogs.
After helping my youngest daughter pick out a couple of bottom feeders for her aquarium, I queued up in the rather long line to checkout. I knew it would take a little while, and told both of my girls that they could look around if they wanted while I waited in line.
Amazingly, they found the kittens and birds more interesting than the line, so they left. In my crowded solitude, I began to look around at the people and animals nearby. A lady in front of me was holding the leash of a gorgeous, young German Shepherd – not quite a puppy, but far from fully grown. His body was perfectly posed and he looked down the aisle with a seemingly curious look on his face.
Down the aisle beyond my range of vision I could hear the agitated bark of another dog. The tone was one of, “Let me at you. I’ll tear you apart.” The distant barking continued for some time as the Shepherd watched with an almost amused look on his face.
The barking got louder as the aggressive animal and its caregiver came into my view. The offending animal was a small bulldog less than half the size of the Shepherd. Even as the bulldog strained his leash – taking him to only a few feet from the Shepherd, the stoic animal simply stood his ground and watched the noisy intruder. I could almost hear, “Really!?!”
As the bulldog’s owner dragged him away barking and resisting, I realized that it was a microcosmic moment of our everyday lives. Whether the bulldog was driven by fear, insecurity, bad attitude or anger management problems, something unnecessary and socially disruptive was taking place.
We humans often respond similarly. We may not bark, although some do, but in one way or another we often allow the baser aspects of our being far more leeway than we should. We may act out, run away, or freeze up at the most inopportune times simply because we are unprepared for the things life brings our way.
Yes, certainly, with a simple slip of the leash, or a breaking of the harness, perhaps that little bulldog would have been all over the German Shepherd. Yet, while the Shepherd stayed alert and prepared for the potential danger, he didn’t allow himself to be controlled by it. He watched and waited for the moment to pass.
God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) The Apostle Paul tells us that we shouldn’t be anxious about anything, rather we should simply let God know what we need (Philippians 4:16). Jesus conveyed the idea that if the Father takes care of the birds and the flowers, He will certainly take care of us being that He loves us far more. (Luke 12:24-34)
If we take the advice of King Solomon, we will trust the Lord with our whole heart, stop worrying about what might happen and allow God to lead us through life. (Proverbs 3:5-6) If we take the advice of Jesus, we will allow peace to rule our lives and not allow stress to control us. (John 14:27)
So which one of the animals do you most relate in the story? I must admit, I am far too often the bulldog, but with God’s help I want to be more like the German Shepherd. How about you?
P.S. If you struggle with worry, let God’s word speak to you today. Here are a few scriptures you can meditate on:
Psalm 23:4; Psalm 55:22; Psalm 56:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 12:25; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 12:24-34; John 14:27; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Peter 5:6-8