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Lily teaches this ol' dog a thing or two

Lily is my two-year-old pup. My daughters call her a princess. Come

to think of it, she can look quite regal at times. At other times, she is all dog, flying across the backyard after squirrels in a downpour, plopping down in cool clover to gnaw a big hickory stick, and rolling over for a belly rub.

I am watching her cavort across the scented, spring grass, jumping for things I can’t see, and looking like she’s living her best life. Lily reminds me that this day is precious and fleeting, and making the most of it should be a top priority. As the psalmist puts it in 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Romp in the sunshine? Rejoice in this day! Slosh through the rain? Rejoice!

Here are more lessons I recall from scripture as I share days with Lily.

Express gratitude.

Weekdays must stretch long for Lily. I leave early and return after darkness has fallen. No matter what companionship she lacks while I’m away, she invariably welcomes me with what sure looks

like thankfulness. It is easiest to be aware of the goodness of God when all I need and most of what I want is in my grasp. There are other times in my life when being thankful is an act of the will.

In my tough-truth moments, I know I stray away from my heavenly Father, taking His close walk with me too often for granted, rather than, as Paul counsels believers: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Leave the past in the past.

Having a dog in my life means taking care of her health and grooming needs, and I am all in here; Lily, however, is not. With a sixth sense that is uncanny, she seems to know when vet day looms. I don’t really understand it. Our morning routine is, well, routine, but she balks on vet mornings when I put her lead on. She

is a sizable girl, and we make a comical pair as I heave her into the car while she goes dead weight in fear and loathing. On the drive, she moans and then whimpers the entire journey. Misery is not too big a word for our experience. But the day after the travail, the experience fades into the past as she again leaps up and runs to the door when I pick up her lead.

Do you recall the plight of Lot’s wife who could not stop herself from looking back? I lean into the advice in Proverbs: “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” As my mentor reminds me: Don’t look back—you’re not going that way.

Love unconditionally.

Sometimes it is a difficult concept to grasp, the unflinching, unfailing, unconditional love the One God has for me. However, in a very small way, in a quite inadequate analogy, Lily demonstrates

that kind of forbearance to this imperfect human. When I am at my most tolerant of her puppy ways, she loves being with me;

when I express great displeasure in her antics, she loves being with me. When I must discipline her, she loves being with me—after a bit! Having a dog reminds me that there needs to be a capacity for loving regardless of circumstances.

It is amazing how many lessons this ol’ dog recalls by spending days with Lily. In my Bible study, I am studying the prophets. Last night, I read again the words of the Lord to His people in Jeremiah: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” I am thankful.

In my everyday life, the Lord God shapes me more into the person He desires me to be. He accomplishes this through His Spirit and through the people—and the pup—in my life. Praise be to the Almighty.

Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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