Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Faith in Action

I never bought Pippy a Bible. Maybe that was poor parenting on my part, but I just didn't think it was a proper gift for a dog. I've provided her with an array of soft, plush toys that squeak and crunch. I have purchased countless different types of treats in an attempt to find one that fits my dog's picky taste buds. But a Bible with the name "Pippy" inscribed across the cover never entered my mind. That is a gift more well suited for a human's first birthday, not so much a dog.
I guess I underestimated what Pippy could understand. I assumed that Biblical principles were lost on the canine community. After all, they can't read the words, how could they be expected to live them? But, oh me of little faith.
Pippy has a firm grasp on one of the most fundamental concepts of Christianity: faith. Watching Pippy go about her daily life has given me a front row seat to faith in action. I expected some bathroom accidents in the house when I bought Pippy, but I did not expect a Godly example for living out the words of the Bible.
Pippy never questions what is next in life. Now, I know what you're thinking - the dog can't talk. I am aware of this and aware of the initially absurdity of a statement that turns an animal into a human. Yet, there is reason to follow my line of thinking. Some dogs shake or whimper. I have seen dogs openly displaying fear when they come in contact with a stranger or a new dog. These dogs show that they aren't comfortable with the situation they have been thrust into. They cower behind their owners legs or yank on the leash in the opposite direction. Quite frankly, they are scared.
Pippy never has this problem. She remains ready for anything and takes it all in stride. Sit in the car all day with minimal walking about outside? No problem, she just sleeps. Welcome a few new faces into the home for the evening? Of course she will be the first to greet them at the door with that stellar smile. Go for a walk on a wooded trail? Why not? Just make sure to let her sniff for a minute or two. Sleep in a different hotel each night? She'll make herself at home anywhere.
She has faith that, no matter where she is or what situation she is put into, it is all going to turn out a-o-k. She trusts that I am taking care of her and that I won't let her come into harms way. She isn't afraid of the new experiences, smells and faces she encounters on these adventures. She doesn't show any complaint when she is removed from her normal and thrown into a whole new world.
I wish I could say the same about myself! Unfortunately, I don't always practice what my dog is preaching. I forget to just have faith that my Heavenly Father is taking care of me. If I can take care of Pippy and make sure she is safe and sound, can't God do the same for me?
Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Unless Pippy is a telepathic dog psychic, I don't think she knows what is coming next on our travels. She has no clue that this weekend she'll be staying with my nieces and nephews while I'm out of town for a wedding. She is blissfully unaware that when my parents return from the wedding, I won't be with them. She still has yet to find out that the 22 hour car ride she just endured is going to be repeated in 2 weeks so she can see me again in Florida. All of this is unknown in her little doggie life, but, last I checked, she doesn't seem too concerned.
What good would that do anyhow? I'm going to be gone this weekend and then back to Florida even if she would rather I stay home. She's going to go on another road trip with Mom, Noelle and Isabel in June no matter what tree she'd rather be sniffing outside that day. Her human protectors have certain plans for her and they are for her own good, so she is along for the ride.
That is really the point. We are along for the ride of our life, riding shotgun with a much better driver. We don't need to worry about what curve is coming up next and, ultimately, where our destination lies. He has the trip all planned out. All we need is the faith to sit back and enjoy the journey.
This should be a relief, really. We don't need to worry about going left or right at the next T-intersection. We don't have to concern ourselves with traffic jams and endless red lights.
We just need to chill out in the back seat. We need to enjoy the calm purr of the car's engine while curling up with a comfy blanket and favorite pillow. We get to lay back and enjoy the journey.
When Pippy first came to Florida, after a long road trip, we took her to a dog park for the first time. In Erie, dog parks are the stuff of children's books, not where you go on a sunny morning. But in Florida, aka dog country, dog parks abound. Pippy got her first taste of one when she arrived. We walked through the gates, unhooked her leash and let her run to her hearts content. At home, she doesn't often have this freedom. There isn't a secure fence around our yard and the road is too close and too busy to let her run free. But at the park, she could run, jump and frollic to her hearts content.
Resting in the back of the car driving through the hills of West Virginia she had no idea of the park adventure ahead of her. It was a total surprise and, I would say, totally worth the long wait in the car.
Same goes for you and I. Maybe we are having to lay low today. Maybe we are sick of riding in the back of the car and just want to be out running free. Hang tight. Don't lose the faith. You are on your way to something incredible - it just takes some traveling time to get there. Until then, sit back and enjoy the scenery. God is taking you somewhere incredible. Prepare to be surprised - and to run free!

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