I’ve been around churches long enough to hear people say being a parent teaches you how God sees us. But the more I think about that the more I think it’s wrong. I say… if you wanna know how God sees us, get a Dog.

The child, no matter how innocent and dependent they may be, will one day be your intellectual equal. Maybe even your intellectual better. But a dog cannot possibly understand the intricate workings of our brains and awareness. And they never will. They can learn concepts and patterns but never break down the reasons for things. We operate way beyond them. Yet dogs think they “get it”.

That sounds like me and God.

My dog understands that when I slow down from freeway speeds I’ll open the windows for her. She knows when I say “window” that I’m going to roll them down. But there’s no comprehension of how to roll them down, or the actual distance over time and complex machinery behind freeway speeds.

The phone is like our doorbell, and when it rings she goes nuts cause she knows that someone’s coming. We’ve even changed the ring tone and she still figures it out. But she doesn’t know who. Or how the phone brings them up.

I could go on… because any time I think about what my dog knows and understands I’m struck again by how similar my view of her is to God’s view of me.

I bet your thinking… so God’s got a big brain – bravo Todd, what a breakthrough.

Yet the lesson for me, sometimes daily, happens on our off-leash walks. I spend most of those times wrestling with God. Thinking about where I am. Where I’m not. Where I “should” be by now. Wondering where God is in my current situation.

Is he listening? Am I going the right way? What if I get off track or make a bad choice?

And then my dog wonders off the hiking trail and into the underbrush. I stop and call her. If she doesn’t respond I keep doing it. If it’s dangerous I get firm with her. If she’s defiant and could get hurt… I go get her.

But most of the time, I’m just walking. Letting her bound around in the brush. Or through someone’s yard. Hollering out “Left” or “Right” when she needs to know direction – but I can’t tell her before the crossroads because that would only confuse her. (Again… wow… I’ve suddenly got a new perspective on God’s seeming last minute directions and help… maybe I’d get confused too if I knew more…)

Mostly though… I just let her run. Discover. Find fun things to chase and enjoy being out in the world. I like when she comes and checks in with me. Or comes close for water, a treat, or encouragement. But she’s off leash. Just like me.

Right about now I’m wondering where God is in relation to my part of life’s hike. Am I way off in the underbrush chasing something stupid? Am I going to get in trouble if I continue? Am I right on track and just need him to nod and say “good boy”?

Maybe I just need a good scratch, a treat, and a long nap on God’s couch. I dunno. I do know I’m hoping for a “Right” or “Left” at the impending crossroads.

And I’m very much off leash. This dog needs his master…

If you like this… try God & Dog II


  1. I really liked this Todd.. I never thought of it like that before, but the analogy is very true. I’m trying to get our dog to stop coming to me everytime she wants a scratch… she just doesn’t get it! 🙂

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