Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who's the Trainer?

Many years ago, there was a poem-like story written called "Footprints in the Sand." It's a heart-warming story that makes you feel warm. Trouble is, it's not really Biblical. There are a few references that look like the Lord carrying a person (like Deuteronomy 33.27, or Isaiah 46.4), but it doesn't take much study to realize that those are all referring to carrying Israel, not individual people.

Every morning I take Boomer and Roxy for a walk. We walk down the driveway to the road, and in that section I vary the point where I apply their leashes. Boomer is now very good at healing, and most mornings I walk him without a lead on. Over a walk longer than a mile, he now stays by my side with minimal correction. I originally tried to train Roxy for Search & Rescue, but it turned out that she didn't have the right drives for that. She has become our home protection, but I realized with Boomer's training that she needs to learn the same obedience.

Anyway, about half-way through the walk, we come to our neighbor's machine shop and grain bins. In that open area, I release them from their leads, and give them my "Ça va!" command. (It's the French phrase for "OK," pronounced "sah-vah." I use several French words as commands to prevent confusion.) With that command, they know they can take off and run and play in that area.

Almost all of the time, that is no problem.

A couple weeks ago, as I walked around the end of the machine shop, I saw a cat run across the surrounding driveway. Boomer saw it, too, and ran after it. The cat ran across the road, and despite all correction I had taught Boomer not to go to the road, he went after it. I called after him, and amazingly, he stopped the chase and started to come back to me. Just as a car approached down the road!

Well, Boomer got back to me without the car getting close to him. But my heart was pounding. I brought him and Roxy back under control. They stayed by me through the walk back to home. And during that last part of the walk, it hit me.

I had said for years that in "Footprints in the Sand," the Lord told the person that the single sets of footprints in places were because the person had gone off on his own, leaving the Lord to run off after his own desires. But I suddenly saw, by Boomer's run after a cat and a car coming, that I had done this myself, many many times in my life.

Who really got trained that morning? Not hard to guess.

It's nearly impossible to find verses that talk about God carrying a person through life. I'm not saying there's nothing there about it, but I haven't found anything solid. But on the other hand, the idea of a person needing to have a loving relationship with God, and choosing to stay beside Him because of that love-- Well, that's all through the Bible. In fact, one of the top 100 most read verses in the Bible is very clear about it.

It's Micah 6:6-8 --
"With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God."

See it? It's not about offerings or fruits, which we often put out front. It's about acting justly (forgiving those who offend you, "70 times 7 times"), loving mercy ("love your neighbor as you love yourself), and choosing to walk always beside God (because you love Him).

Thanks, Boomer, for all the messages you give me-- Oncoming headache, dizzy spell, or fatigue. And oh! Yeah! That I need to stay by the Lord's side, just as you must stay by mine.

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