Last Sunday I came home from church and Smudge, our 15 ½ year old Jack Russell terrier, was SO glad to see me it was, well, ridiculous. Dancing around, doing spins, leaping in the air, yipping like a puppy.
I was kind of pleased at first – I mean, who doesn’t want to get that kind of crazy-happy welcome? (I am pretty awesome.) But then she just wouldn’t calm down. She IS a Jack Russell. I wanted the mayhem to stop so I reprimanded her firmly.
Then, you know what I realized? SHE DIDN’T HAVE ANY WATER.
She was glad to see me because she knew I was the answer to her problem: She was thirsty, I was the source of water, and that made her happy! She trusted that now that I was home and she had my attention, she was going to get what she needed.
That didn’t initially occur to me because it wasn’t the kind of reaction I might have had if I were dependent on someone else to meet my basic needs. I would have probably been all whiny and dramatic, maybe trying to elicit guilt or pity to get what I needed.
But not Smudge.
I started thinking about whether that would be a better approach for me as a human. What if when I am confused or fearful, instead of praying about it in a whining, begging kind of way, I truly believed that prayer would reveal the answer to me and I got excited? Seriously, that’s not my default response.
And yet, isn’t God the source of all that I need? Maybe not always what I want in the moment, but truly what I need? What if I really came to grips with that and with the fact that when I pray, I have God’s attention, and He is far more faithful to give me what’s best for me than I am to give Smudge what’s best for her?
I’m going to try that. I’m going to pray and focus on the fact that God knows and wants what’s best for me and I’m going to choose to be excited for that. I may not dance around and spin. I certainly won’t yip like a puppy (how undignified), but I’m going to trust that He’s the Giver of all good gifts and He wants to give His best to me.
It worked for Smudge. She got a full bowl of clean, cool water and lapped it up appreciatively.
How do you approach God – exuberant and expectant like Smudge, knowing you’re going to get what you need? Or tentative and apologetic, like me? Have you ever learned a lesson about God from your pet(s)? Please share in the comments!