The rumours are true. We bought a dog.
I foolishly mentioned in a sermon a few weeks back that I had little intention of ever getting a dog – and I didn’t – but there you go. There is egg on my face and a dog in my house.
Jethro is a cute black little furball with a white stripe from his chin to his tummy. You’ll notice that I said “cute” there and I will admit that he has brought real joy to our family.
But he has also brought destruction and mess.
You see, Jethro is a puppy. He knows nothing except eat and destroy. He has eaten through a soft toy that survived our 4 children. He has torn clothing. He has ripped up paper. He has eaten who knows what from the floor. And – it is hard to find a polite way to write about this – he also does his do-do about 50% of the time on his PuppyPad and 50% of the time in places where Martha Gardner’s Wool Wash must be applied afterwards.
Just this morning I found myself growing in frustration and wishing he would learn to come, go, drop, sit, stay, stop and where to do do-do, more quickly!
This whole do thing is going to require endurance.
And then it occurred to me – we have a great opportunity with this puppy to be reminded of what it is like to be a Christian.
Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:11 – “But you, man of God, flee from all [these evil desires and griefs], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
As Christians, we are called (among other things) to learn to bear with difficult situations without giving up. We are called to endure.
We may have to endure suffering – either illness or the work of evil against us.
We may have to endure opposition – from those who have no interest in Jesus or even despise him and his followers.
We may also have to endure our own sinfulness and temptation, fighting against it day by day in the power of the Spirit.
In our world today, there is a lot of giving up – you might say there is a lack of resilience. It’s not just that people give up more easily but that they are not given the opportunity to struggle and fail and get up again and have another go. Children particularly are being taught that there is no need to endure difficulty as they are either rescued too quickly or overly protected from trial and struggle. This is not good news.
Learning too quickly to give up doesn’t bode well for Christian growth.
So yes, I am a little frustrated with Jethro but I am seeing this as an opportunity to grow in endurance that I might apply it to my relationship with God. Eventually the dog will be trained and will be a bundle of joy and it will all be worth it!
Jesus is coming soon too but between now and then, struggle on and don’t give up. Endure! It will be worth it!