Shadow on Affection

They say people become like their pets or pets become like their people… either way, I hear there are a lot of similarities between the two. My family has Shadow, a seven-year-old puppy-at-heart who is probably a Rottweiler-Lab mix (she is a rescue so we are not exactly sure). She lives with my parents across town from me, so I get to visit her often.

She is always thrilled to see me no matter what kind of day either of us have had. She greets me by prancing in circles and wagging her huge tail. When my hands are full and I am not ready to greet her, she sits and waits (still shuffling her front paws and thumping her tail on the floor, watching my every move) until I set down my possessions and turn to pay attention to her. She rushes over, eagerly licking my hands, letting me rub her ears and then turning so I will scratch her back, her hips, her sides. She rubs her sides agains my legs like some sort of 90-pound housecat. Shadow’s affectionate greeting will go on for a good 30 minutes if I let it.

When we are watching a movie or eating dinner or playing games, Shadow likes to lie on the floor near us. If she thinks she is welcome, she will come over and lie right next to (or even on) our feet, just so she can be as close as possible.

I do not know how much Shadow and I are alike, but I think my relationship with God has some similarities to my relationship with her. On one hand, her enthusiastic, all-encompassing affection reminds me of God’s love for me.

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior Who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in silent satisfaction and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins, or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing.Zephaniah 3:17

In the context of the rest of Zephaniah, this verse comes after God has been wronged by people who refused to listen or follow Him, who wanted little to do with Him. He chooses to forgive and reconcile because He loves them (and us!).

On the other hand, Shadow’s adoring desire to simply be near those she loves is what I want in my attitude toward God.

   I’m asking God for one thing,
      only one thing:
   To live with him in his house
      my whole life long.
   I’ll contemplate his beauty;
      I’ll study at his feet.

   That’s the only quiet, secure place
      in a noisy world,
   The perfect getaway,
      far from the buzz of traffic. Psalm 27:4-5

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