After seeing this mess in my bathroom, I felt a good dose of wrath building up inside me at my dog. This disaster was made by the same dog who was sick last week. He is still recovering from his illness but obviously felt well enough to tear into his bed in the middle of the night! It makes me suspicious that the “suspicious spot” in his stomach might have been a piece of memory foam…I love this goofy dog, but honestly! I have cleaned up his vomit and diarrhea and washed blankets and bleached the floor and petted him and fed him special food and spent way too much money on xrays and medication at the vet….and this is the thanks I get?
I am grateful that this spirited dog who rivals Marley in bad-boy behavior hasn’t lost his spunk and seems to have pulled through this episode. We’ll never know what he ate this time that made him so sick.
The wrath I felt this morning when I saw his big mess dissipated when I felt his sloppy doggy kisses on my hand. Shiner’s devotion to me is complete. As I write this blog, he is sleeping on the floor. His body is two inches away from the wheels of my chair. When I get up to work on the laundry, he’ll drag his sore bones up off the floor and follow me.
As I reflected on wrath and mercy between master and dog today, suddenly God reminded me of His wrath at our messes and His ultimate mercy. Take a look at Psalm 78. The writer has just recounted how the Israelites had been saved from the Egyptians and how the Lord was leading them through the desert…how He provided them water and manna and meat, yet they were still ungrateful:
Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze that does not return.
How often they rebelled against him in the desert
and grieved him in the wasteland!
Again and again they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power—
the day he redeemed them from the oppressor
Psalm 78: 39-42
Again and again my goofy dog vexes me, more so even than my own daughter! (Don’t you just love the word ‘vexes?’ It sounds exactly the way we feel when we are vexed!) Like the Israelites, Shiner does not seem to remember who it is who butters his bread, so to speak. But l love him so much that like God, I do not “stir up my full wrath.” I remember that he is a dog — a “passing breeze that does not return.” In return I get something that God longs for me to have for Him…complete and utter devotion.
Time and time again I mess up. God looks upon my house and the state of my heart and sees all kinds of disasters much worse than anything Shiner can deviously create. Yet he remembers I am flesh and bone, not God. He remembers I am a passing breeze and therefore he restrains his anger. He is merciful.
And I am thankful. Oh how freeing it is to know that I am redeemed from the oppresser! I can picture myself sitting at the Lord’s feet just as Shiner is sitting at mine right now. (by the way, my other doggy friend, Lacee, is curled up UNDER the legs of the rolling chair. Talk about trust!) Is there any way I can sit at the Lord’s feet today, though? Can I bask in His presence this moment? What joy it will be to one day feel a gentle pat on my head and hear the words,
Well done, good and faithful servant!”
I can if I keep my eyes on Him, if I spend my quiet time with him and talk to him in my heart as I go throughout my day. And this little blogging exercise is showing me that the next time I am confronted with a huge mess, whether created by a doggy or a child or (tee-hee) a husband…I can stop and reflect on the countless numbers of messes I create that my Father in heaven cleans up.
Whereas I am human and I do remember these canine exploits, God cleans up my exploits and then removes them. He takes them away.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
And for that, I am thankful! I will put myself in my dog’s shoes…er, paws…today. I will sit at the feet of Jesus, content just to be in the same room with Him.
In a surprising way, something good did come out of this latest doggy exploit. Mercy. It’s always a good thing.