We’re continuing to work our way through Saturdays With Stella in my Sunday School class. It’s a book that takes the lessons author Allison Pittman learns in her dog’s obedience classes and applies them to our relationship with our Master–God. It’s often insightful, funny and helpful.
It also offers some great tips for dog training. Last week we talked about the “come” command. Now this is one Thistle has yet to really get. Although I’m 90% sure she doesn’t get it because I haven’t properly taught it to her. Still. The trick Allison offers up is to “praise the imaginary dog that’s already come.”
Huh? Yes, that’s right. You bend over and start scratching an imaginary dog behind the ears, petting her, patting her and praising her with sweet words. I know. Sounds silly. But man does it work! I can kneel down near the front door and begin petting the air while telling the puppy that’s not there what a good girl she is–what a pretty girl–what a sweetie and in short order Thistle will be nosing in to see what’s up. She simply can’t resist stepping into all that lavish affection and praise.
I’ve heard people talk about having a “God-sized” hole in their hearts. The only thing that will fill that hole is God. What had not occurred to me before is that God has a Sarah-sized space ready and waiting in his heart. He’s lavishing affection on the me that has already turned toward Him. All I have to do is step into that space designed just for me. God doesn’t need me. But He wants me–to be in relationship with me–to have me near Him. And often times I’m about as good at coming when called as Thistle is.
But then I look up and see something like Ephesians 3:17-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” And just like that, I want nothing more than to be right there, next to God, getting the love He’s been pouring out all along–just waiting for me to come so that I can experience that love.
He’s waiting for you, too.