Hachiko was abandoned and abused before we got him – very scared of people – going around corners – going into rooms – and who knows what else. We’re still learning after about 2 months with him.
Anyway – we got to the door of the vet’s office. He got part way in.
I was telling him he’d be OK – just stop and look around – then we’d go in.
This is our normal routine in a situation like this.
He saw something that really scared him – I have no idea what. He backed up so fast and so hard that he pulled his head right out of the collar.
And then he ran.
This was originally published on my old site on November 12, 2011. I'll tell the story first, then give an update at the end.
This is also just one of many things I have comparing our relationship with our pets (for me - dogs) with what the relationship should be between us and God. There's a level of love and trust that they have for us that we don't seem capable of having with God. We can learn a lot from them. The series information is right under the title line at the top.
To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.
from Chapter 8 of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
If you are interested in The Screwtape Letters, I'm also moving a study guide for the book from my old site. It's available here.
If you’re not familiar with the book – it’s the story of a devil in training – Wormwood – being mentored by his uncle – Screwtape. Given that it’s written from the point of the view of the devil – it’s important to note that the reference to “the Enemy” is actually talking about God.
He’s saying that to the devils – humans (us) are just food for them.
Contrast this with Jesus who is the Bread of Life – giving His body for us that we may have eternal life with Him.
And then he goes on to talk about how God’s goal is to have lot’s of little replicas of Himself – us! How cool is that? God wants you and me to be little replicas of Him!
This chapter – as well as other parts of the book – talk about how God gives us the free will to follow Him or not.
It also talks about how God will sometimes allow us – even expect us – to stand on our own.
This is the backdrop for today’s article.
My wife & I have been leading a group where we’re studying The Screwtape Letters. Chapter 8 was what we covered last week.
Last night – we had a prayer vigil at our church.
The verses used for the night were –
Ps 18:16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
Ps 18:17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
Ps 18:18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
Ps 18:19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Rescued by God – “because He delighted in me“.
And can’t that be true for all of us?
In this case – it was David.
In our case – it could be us. It depends on us – whether we choose God or not.
From that discussion at the vigil came a series of verses that we also talked about at the Screwtape Letters discussion of Chapter 8 – from Mark 4:35-41 –
Jesus Calms the Storm
Mk 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Mk 4:36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
Mk 4:37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Mk 4:38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Mk 4:39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
Mk 4:40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mk 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
So – we have –
God wants us to be like Him –
and He wants us to choose this – He won’t force us to do it –
He also wants us to be able to try to stand on our own –
He wants us to trust Him,
And now – against that backdrop,
and the timing of everything,
here’s what happened yesterday —
I was taking Hachiko – the newest member of our family – a Chow mix – to the vet.
He’s been there a few times before – mostly to just get familiar with the place and the people. He did go for a spider bite that wasn’t healing – and this trip was to pick up some more of the liquid to clean it.
Hachi was abandoned and abused before we got him – very scared of people – going around corners – going into rooms – and who knows what else. We’re still learning after about 2 months with him.
Anyway – we got to the door of the vet’s office.
He got part way in.
I was telling him he’d be OK – just stop and look around – then we’d go in.
This is our normal routine in a situation like this.
He saw something that really scared him – I have no idea what.
He backed up so fast and so hard that he pulled his head right out of the collar.
And then he ran.
He got across a street with 2 lanes in each direction – lots of traffic – and a 40 mile per hour speed limit.
So did I.
He kept running – incredibly fast – and really far.
I ran out of breath – had to stop.
A couple of people from the vet’s office had gotten into their car to look for him.
I went back to my car to do the same.
I was driving around for an hour –
I kept praying – God please let him be OK – please let me find him –
no sign of him.
Then I got a phone call –
they had gotten hold of my wife to tell her what happened.
He had gone back to the vet’s office on his own.
They said his feet were bloody –
they were cleaning him up to see what happened –
but it looked like he wasn’t hit and would be “OK”.
Thank You God!
I drove back to the office –
saw all those bloody footprints outside –
a miracle –
he had crossed that street again –
found his way back –
and apparently just waited at the door until someone opened it –
most likely because he thought that’s where I’d be.
When they brought him out to see me –
he was limping pretty badly.
All of his claws had been bleeding –
many of his pads were raw and had been bleeding.
But he was back –
Thank You again God!
I got him back home –
we got him some socks to protect his feet –
and went to the prayer vigil.
One of the pastors said that God must have some purpose for this.
I agreed – and right away knew it was going to be something to write about.
something for me –
and for whoever reads this.
Once inside –
and after reading the verses from Psalms –
I knew it was going to be what I’m writing now,
And then the senior pastor pretty much says the same thing that I was thinking –
that he can’t help but look at Hachi’s experience as being similar to what we go through with God.
When we first brought Hachi home – he was scared of me.
Now – he’s totally bonded – comfortable – and loves to just lay by my side.
But – he saw something – he got scared – and he ran.
And don’t we do the same thing?
When things are good – we love to be with God.
then something happens –
and we run.
When Hachi ran – he got hurt.
When we run from God – we often get hurt.
When Hachi came back –
there was no yelling at him –
no anger directed towards him –
just love and being grateful that he returned.
When we return to God –
there’s no yelling at us –
no anger directed towards us –
just love and delight that we returned.
The parallels are amazing.
The need to recognize it for me is essential.
The desire to write about it was immediate after I realized he was going to be OK.
If you’re in the same position with God as Hachi was with me –
I pray that you learn from his example.
God will not be angry with you.
In fact –
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Lk 15:1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.
Lk 15:2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Lk 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable:
Lk 15:4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
Lk 15:5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
Lk 15:6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
Lk 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Let me repeat that one part –
rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents
if you’ve run away from God –
please return –
He’s waiting for you –
He’s searching for you –
and all of Heaven is waiting to rejoice over your decision –
because God delights in you too.
It’s now November 25, 2014. After seeing a post from Beautiful Life With Cancer about her dog Tucker, I said I’d get some of the stuff from my old site and re-post it here. Obviously, there are a lot of dog people here. So here it is.
For the last 20+ years I’ve always had at least 2 dogs. As you dog people know, they are like a special gift from God. And it’s amazing how often I look at the relationship between them and us, and see some lesson in how our relationship with God should be.
Dog’s have come a long way since the OT days, haven’t they? But even then, when they were mentioned in the Bible, it was for some lesson to be learned. Well, we can still learn from them. A lot of people have already read about Tucker. On the off chance that you haven’t, follow the link above. You’ll see how, I think, God brought Tucker to the right place for him.
Now, for the update.
As I said, Hachiko was abandoned and abused. He hid behind a table in our house for the first few days, only coming out to eat and go outside. He was so scared. Finally, I pulled him out and made him let me scratch him. Wasn’t too long before he bonded with me. Not so fast with my wife, probably because she wasn’t as comfortable with him. He’s 3 times the size of our other two dogs. After several months, he got pretty “normal” in the house. Then the back yard. Next, learning to be combed in the front yard. Along the way, he did manage to get a “Good Citizen” medal, after training and a test at a local pet shop. I think the reason he made it was that the class was 10 weeks, in the same store, with the same people. But he did it! At the beginning, the instructor was pretty sure he wouldn’t even be able to complete the class. Amazing what love and a feeling of safety can do. For a dog with us – and for us with God.
It took almost 2 years before Hachiko was pretty comfortable going out for a walk. There’s still the occasional scary moment when we come up to a new person, or a loud noise. For the regulars, they were often amazed at his progress. He went from always wanting to run – to sitting, but shaking like a leaf – to sitting, but shaking a little – to now where he lets a number of people feed / scratch him when we go out. Again – isn’t that so like us? When God wants us to do something – we’re scared – hopefully we still try – and then we find out it’s good! This morning, Hachi actually was pulling along with the little guys to get to one of the neighbors who always has treats for them. Wouldn’t God love to see that from us, when He has something for us to do?
Now I’m retired. He loves to sit either in the same room as me, or else by the doorway to the room. Unless of course – he can be out in the back yard, keeping it safe. Taking care of him and the other guys – it’s a good feeling. Seeing them grow from scared little things to loving dogs that would do anything for us. And we’d do anything for them. Like God would do anything for us. And hopefully we’ll grow to do anything for Him.
It’s now August 10, 2016.
Hachiko has been with us for almost five years now.
He wants to go for walks. I used to have to go get him to put on his leash and stuff. Now, as soon as he knows any of us are going out – he’s right there wanting to go along.
He has several friends on the block – human friends that is. He even looks to a couple of them, expecting treats.
Hachi even likes to ride in the car. He’s one of those that just sticks his head out the window and feels the breeze. I hang on to his leash and keep the loose part pretty short, so I can pull him back in quickly if need be.
He loves to go to the groomer. I call her his “girlfriend”. The very first time he met her, she got down in the ground with him and was covering his eyes, playing peek-a-boo. Unbelievable. She moved to a different location a while back – and now he’s got two “girlfriends”, He loves to see both of them when he goes in. When we first got Hachi – we didn’t know if he’d ever be calm enough to even go to a groomer. We were bathing him ourselves for quite a while.
Believe it or not, he also loves to go to the vet’s office. Yes, he still looks inside very carefully first. And yes – I got him a new harness. It’s one for training hunting dogs to get used to gunshots right near them. Now, when I know he’s likely to get nervous, I just grab hold of the handle on the new harness – and he can’t get away.
All of this reminds me of something Jesus said –
Jn 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
One could compare all of those verses to Hachiko’s life so far. He’s has had plenty of experiences with “the thief”. He was afraid of so many things that I’ve often thought – “I don’t even want to know what he’s gone through”. I think it would make me so sad. And way too many people – way too many children – have gone through way too many things at the hands of other people. People who – whether they acknowledge it or not – are following the way of the thief (Satan)- and who’s only real goal is to steal life from others.
But when Hachiko came into our lives – things changed for him. Slowly, to be sure. He’s our third rescue dog, and none of them have taken as long to adjust as he has. It’s been 5 years now – and he’s still not completely “normal” / comfortable when we go to new places. He still looks to me when he gets scared. He’s learning.
Just as with Hachiko and me – I wish we could all be like that with God. That we would recognize our old lives were messed up not by God, but by followers of the thief. And the more we can learn to trust God, the safer we’ll feel – and the more we can “have life, and have it to the full”.
There is a part 2 for Little Replicas of God. You can see it by clicking on the series link, either at the top of this article (right under the title) or in the series information in the side-bar on the right.