Held Back On the Leash

Sometimes dogs snarl at each other for no obvious reason to our human eyes. I’ve watched our dog, Jack, approach a dog who snarled at him, telling Jack in no uncertain doggie language to, “get lost!” I have to admit I’ve watched our dear Jack do the same thing to other dogs from time to time. Are they in a bad mood? Do they sense something they don’t like in the other dog? Do they simply want to be left alone for awhile? (A bit like people, come to think of it.)

While snarling is a sign of dislike or fear, pulling on the leash can mean either, “I want to get that dog!” or “I want to play with that dog!” One day this week Jack began to pull hard. He had seen several dogs up ahead all playing chase together. Jack loves chase; therefore, I knew this sudden tugging was excitement building. He wanted to go and play, and he wanted to go now! I held him back while we crossed the road. It wasn’t time yet. He was pulling hard. “Wait, Jack,” I said. We came closer. Jack was still pulling. He could hardly wait another moment. Finally, we were there in the field. I could let Jack go, and wow! he zoomed away in great delight, joining the cluster of dogs, all jumping on each other, chasing each other, a happy sight of tails wagging and legs running.

I joined the other dog owners. We were all watching the play time. Except for the absence of tongues hanging out, we had the same happy looks on our faces as did our dogs. Reflecting on this later I began to think of something Jesus told His followers in Luke 6: 22-23, “What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets the same way.” These are difficult days we are living in — wars happening and rumors of war, unprecedented weather disasters, cold hearts toward God, acceptance of what is bad as now good.

When Christians stand up for the truth of God’s Word, there may come snarling from those who don’t agree. We may be hated, treated terribly, laughed at, cursed, even killed as many of God’s children are around the world. We are pulling against our leashes, longing for the day when we see Jesus face to face, when we are no longer harnessed to our own temptations and burdens that weigh us down. A time is coming when eternal joy is ours. There will be no more tears or any sorrow. We will be set free from any leash holding us back. We can hardly wait! We will indeed leap for joy!

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