When I was four years old, there was a giant hurricane coming towards the area my family lived in. I remember my parents boarded up the windows, and we all moved into the living room together for the night because it was the safest.
My dad brought home a movie to cheer me and my older brother up; the movie My Dog Skip.
We cuddled up as a family and loved the film, all of us unaware of the impact it would have on us later.
Then when I was eight years old, I fell in love with my cousin’s dog. After much begging, my parents finally gave in, and with the help of my grandpa, got us a cute, little Maltese puppy.
I was so excited because I was the one who got to name him. We all struggled with finding the perfect name for him, but then, I realized it should be Skip after the movie.
Skip has been my best friend since the day we first got him. He’s loyal and loving, and he never fails to bring a smile to my face when I look at him or even just think about him. He’s been there for me through everything, and he’s so much more than just a dog to me.
But the best part about my dog Skip is the different lessons he has taught me about God. Through Skip, God has revealed so many different aspects of our relationship with Him.
Everyday, Skip waits patiently for me to return home to him. And when I walk through that door, he is barking, his tail is wagging, and he is jumping all over me trying to get my attention.
God feels the exact same way about us.
Everyday our father waits patiently for us to spend time with him. He hopes that we abide by him, and build the relationship between the two of us. Just like the parable of the Prodigal Son, even when we mess up or go away for a long time, he is there waiting with open arms. If God had a tail I’m sure it would be wagging.
The first lesson Skip taught me about God is the importance of spending time with him, and how he excitedly waits for our return.
After I had this realization, I started to wonder what other ways my relationship with Skip might be similar to my relationship with God.
Later I realized that the roles can be flipped. Sometimes the owner of a pet can be like God.
I provide everything for Skip. I feed him, I take him out, I play with him and love him. If he ever needs anything, he knows to come to me. Skip could not survive without me, he is dependent on me.
The same goes for us and God. Whether or not you believe it, or fully realize it, we need God. He loves us when no one else does. When everyone else fails, he’s there for you waiting. Who doesn’t need a support system like that?
And yet the hardest and best lesson Skip has taught me about God happened recently.
In the past few months, Skip’s health has spiraled out of control. He put on too much weight for his little body, but he couldn’t stop eating. He got this strange, hard bump on his back that no one really seems to know what it is or why it happened. Then he went blind. And now he’s coughing so hard he has problems breathing.
He’s nine years old. He shouldn’t be having these problems. I always thought he’d make it until 12 or 13.
I’ve struggled with the thought of losing him a lot lately. I’ve realized how selfish I’ve been in my relationship with him. So many times he wanted to play or go for a walk, and I was too busy to give him the love and attention he deserved. I wish that I did more with him and for him, because I took my relationship with Skip for granted. I just always assumed I had more time with him.
And in the exact same way I have taken Skip for granted I continue to take God for granted. I get caught up in earthly matters, and forget to build my relationship with God. I ignore him, neglect him, and do the wrong thing.
How could someone who I take for granted so much still show me endless mercy?
I’m starting to realize that I can’t dwell on the past. Yes, I could continue to think about ways I should’ve been a better owner and regret it. But that won’t solve anything. What matters is me moving forward and spending the last little time I have with him, and that goes for our relationship with God as well.
No matter how distant from him you become, you can fix it. If you’re truly sorry, he will always forgive you. There isn’t anything you can do to turn his love away from you.
Spend some time with your loved ones today. And then spend some time thanking God for them.
Please consider praying for me and Skip as we are nearing the end of our journey together; it would mean a lot.
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15