Recently when we were filming in my office, our Golden retriever Maggie, who is growing more each day, made a guest appearance. Thought I would share it with you. Maggie is a gift from God to Nanci and me. We love dogs in general and this one in particular.
As some of you have experienced, I’ve found something profoundly spiritual in being entrusted with a creation of God (Maggie Grace). I have been so moved toward Christ through each of the dogs I’ve had (including one before I knew Christ, who I believe God used, years in advance, to prepare my heart to love Him). To see my precious Nanci’s joy in Maggie overwhelm—and yet give place to— her grief over our Dalmation Moses has been a worshipful experience. The gratitude runs deep, as does the praise. Nanci and I have laughed and cried together, and marveled at Maggie. Any dog can be a therapy dog, and what God has done in Nanci (and me too) through Maggie this past couple of months borders on the miraculous.
Romans 1 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” God’s qualities and attributes are made visible in his creation, and the higher the creation, the more manifest they are. Animals are his second highest creation. To observe them is to observe their maker. As I look into Maggie’s eyes, and as she gives and receives love and devotion, I feel drawn to the God who made her.
True, the Fall twists certain things, so obviously we are not to draw conclusions about God’s character from an animal who eats its young! But it is perfectly accurate, I think, to observe a lion’s majesty and see God’s majesty, to see an otter’s playfulness and see God’s playfulness, to see a dog’s unconditional love and see God’s unconditional love. Animals are not just God’s wonderful creations, they are also lenses through which (using discernment) we can and should see his character more clearly. God has given us two books, his written word and his physical creation in which he has also written who He is (we use Scripture to discern which of our observations about the natural world are accurate).
I have been thinking a lot about the happiness of God. (Remember, He will say to us one day, “Enter into your Master’s happiness”—this is a happiness that pre-existed the creation of the universe.) God is profoundly happy in and of himself, in perfect fellowship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Incredibly (see John 17) He has opened his arms to include us in that sacred company. With it comes a capacity for happiness that we have gotten just a hint and foretaste of, I think, in this fallen world. In the time we’ve had her, I’ve seen God’s character not only in his kindness in sharing Maggie with us, but in her beauty, her happiness, her playfulness, her sense of wonder, her love for knowledge and exploration, her joy of discovery, and her utter trust in us and devotion to us.
It’s hard to take my eyes off this creature who tucks herself into remote corners to nap, who always wants in my lap, who chews my slippers and jumps on leaves in the yard when the wind blows. And each time I look at her, I fall more in love with her Creator, and mine. As I rejoice in her I hear God say, “Enter into your master’s happiness.” (I see Maggie entering into Nanci’s and my happiness, and we are her masters.) To know God is happy about her, that He takes delight in her as her Creator, that he longs for the day when his creations, like our Dalmatian Moses, no longer groan and suffer and die (Romans 8), gives me total liberty—full permission from my Lord—to take utter delight in her, knowing she is not an idol, but a precious gift and prompter of praise to Him, the only one worthy of praise.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.