God has taught me yet another faith lesson through the frolicking, furry paws of yet another four-legged friend. The Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17 KJV), and I have no doubt that studying the Bible regularly is the source of my ever-increasing faith in God. But God knows my heart, and He often brings to life my faith lessons through Walk by Faith Ministry’s rescue dogs. Today, yet again, God did just that in the form of Hosea – a big, bounding, long-limbed, still-got-puppy-energy, Great Dane-labrador mix.
hosea at the beauty shop…
Hosea has just learned to swim, and make no bones about it. He already loves it. He has had the good fortune to learn his favorite new sport in not just one pond – but two. But Hosea has struggled to stay committed to his first love, as he has quite quickly discovered the joy of chasing ducks. Uh oh. You’ve got that right. Hosea dives in, chases the ducks out of one pond, and then runs at full speed, with his limbs flying in all sorts of directions, straight to the second pond. Why would he go to such great lengths to run the long distance in between ponds? To chase ducks of course!
Today, enjoying his new sports of swimming and chasing ducks, he chased the ducks out of one pond, chased after them to the second pond, dove in, and swam as fast as he could (fairly slowly, I might add), to chase the ducks some more. I am not sure the ducks got a kick out of Hosea’s new sport, but I did.
If the truth be known, I was also a bit concerned. Hosea is so new to swimming, and despite his great size, a bit timid. He tends to swim around the boundary of the pond to keep the shore close at hand – until he remembers the ducks! Then, off he goes again.
“Hosea! Hosea!” I cried out today. “Come back, Hosea! You’re going to get too tired!” I called after him, knowing from an experience years ago I could end up in trouble.
A long, good while ago, one of my all-time favorite dogs jumped in a river to swim. I was so petrified she would not come back that I jumped in after her and tried to rescue her. I could have drowned to lug the big labrador up over me to shore, but managed to survive. So did the labrador, who was quite amused I am sure to remind me she could swim better than I could.
Watching Hosea, I could not help but wonder at how long he would last in the middle of the pond before I would have to swim in and rescue him. Please understand, he is taller than I am when he stands and weighs a good percentage of what I do! Now, back to the pond. He seemed to lose track of time, of me, of anything at all besides the ducks.
“Come on, Hosea,” I yelled, a bit concerned. “You’ll never catch them!”
Hosea did not understand. He did not even care to understand. He had no desire to hear my words of wisdom – my words of warning.
Only when I turned to leave and started to walk away with Red my well mannered (sometimes, I might add) miracle of a dog did Hosea choose to swim confidently out of his new favorite location – the middle of the duck-chasing pond – to follow me to the car.
The faith lesson? I could not help but think of how often we believers in Jesus Christ choose to swim out in the middle of our own ponds, chase ducks we will never catch, chase after the ducks into the next pond over, swim and swim and swim fully believing we will achieve our fleshly goal, wear ourselves out in the process – and disregard the Lord’s voice – and wisdom – as He calls out to us to come back to Him and follow Him where He wants to lead us.
Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27 KJV).” John 10:27 KJV
The Lord speaks to us through His Word – the Bible – and He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit. If we are studying His Word, and if we are sensitive to His Holy Spirit, we will hear His voice.
But how many of us are so busy chasing ducks from pond to pond that we are not studying His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit – and therefore not hearing His voice?
And how many of us hear His voice and refuse to follow?
I am quite sure Hosea could not hear my voice amid all the splashing of his new-found dog-paddling sport, and given the raucous noise of the very disturbed ducks. But he knew as I walked away that he was about to lose me.
Do we wait until we can only see the Lord from afar as He walks to the place He wants to lead us to realize how much we are missing?
Hosea ultimately chose to follow.
What about us?
Will you take the time to study the Word, to listen for the Holy Spirit, and to hear His voice?
And when you hear, will you follow?
You might need to give up a couple of ducks and a few ponds, but I am quite sure nothing will come close to the joy of following the Lord.
And maybe, just maybe, you will find a few ducks and ponds to enjoy yourself wherever the Lord is leading – with the Lord right there with you.