God taught me an amazing lesson about His love using our dog and his bone. But first, you need to understand that our dog loves his bones. I mean, he really, absolutely loves them. Dudley has this uncanny ability to know when my wife is going in to the laundry room to specifically grab a bone from his stash above the fridge, before she even gets to the laundry room! A couple of times he has actually beaten her to the fridge! It is amazing. How he knows, I have no idea. It is the same when we grab our keys and he knows, somehow, that we are not going to work, nor the gym, nor to church, but we are going somewhere that he can ride along, therefore he gets excited for a car ride. In both cases, his ears perks up, his tail is wagging a mile a minute, he wines, circles us, sits expectantly, and waits eagerly for what he loves.
One day my wife and I had gotten home from work and we were getting ready to go to our bible study. We were just home for about a half hour. I was rolling around with Dudley playing with him on our bed, used often as our wrestling ring. My wife and I felt bad that we had been gone all day and we were already getting ready to leave Dudley again for the evening. So, my wife and I snuggled with him, giving him some affection before we were to leave. Then my wife had the idea to give him a bone or a treat before we left to try and ease our separation. I think it was for more of our benefit than his.
Immediately his ears perked up. Things got serious. He watched her intently the moment she said “bone”. She got up and he raced off the bed following her, wagging his tail, whining, running circles around her in between impatient sits. He was excited. I stood up, watching the action, as my wife gave him the bone. He clutched it in his mouth, trotted around with his head held high like he does, tail wagging, trying to decide where the lucky spot is for him to lay down and devour His prized possession.
Usually his favorite place to devour his bones are on the shag rug that is under our desk. But this time, to my amazement, he went right to our bed, jumped up on it, and sat looking at us with his bone in his mouth, watching us intently. I thought he was starring at us because he would know better to slobber and eat his bone on our bed. That would be a “No”. I walked over to him and said, “Oh no you don’t”! I grabbed the bone from his mouth that he reluctantly submitted to me, and I threw it out of our room and exclaimed, “Go get it”!
Every time Dudley would be off to the races to fetch his toy, a knotted rope, or in this case, a bone. But he sat there, intently. He looked at the bone in other room, and he looked back at me. Next his ears turned back, he looked at us with his gentle gaze and got on his side, inching in to snuggle next to us. To my amazement that almost brought tears to my eyes (ok, I must have been emotional that day), Dudley desired to snuggle with my wife and I on our bed rather than to consume his bone. He would rather spend time with us than have a bone. How amazing is that! That was so precious to my wife and I; so endearing.
As we laid there together lavishing Dudley with affection, I reflected on what just happened. And I thought to myself, how much does it gratify God when we choose to spend time with Him rather than pursuing our bones of life? I could have taken a legalistic spin in my thinking, asking myself what ‘bones’ in life am I pursuing rather than spending time with God, but that wasn’t what the Holy Spirit was teaching me in that moment.
It wasn’t a spirit of legalism or a critical spirit, it was the Holy Spirit revealing to me how much God delights when we choose to spend time with Him above anything else. And it just revealed the loving, compassionate, intimate heart that God has for us, and His love affair with us. God takes joy when we spend time with Him. How sweet is that? He takes joy when we choose Him over the bones in our life. It means something to Him, and I felt loved, probably similar to the way Dudley was feeling loved by the both of us as this revelation was hitting me. The times I enjoy the most with God is when I lay aside my bone and rest in His presence.
Be intent on the time that you spend with God. He loves it. He loves you.
Psalm 149:4: For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”