Our newly landscaped, drought tolerant yard has come to symbolize many things this winter. In the natural realm, it represents countless things the Lord is doing in the spiritual. Last weekend, I was pointing out another parallel to my husband. I couldn't help but notice the tri-trunked sapling draping our hammock reminding me that our marriage is a cord made stronger with God (Ecclesiastes 4:11-13) and I swear the runners of the strawberry plants are being sent out 2 by 2 just like the disciples to spread the gospel (Luke 10:1-3). Lest he miss my train of thought, I prefaced my revelation to Jim, "I am talking about a spiritual reference now in the symbolic." His loving retort, "When are you not?!"
Honestly, I may need to write a museum gallery guide to the yard. There are that many references to scripture, the Tabernacle, and Biblical truth that have become obvious to me as we watch God on the move in our lives this season. I think mounting placards would be too much, don't you?
Anywho, one of the more mundane examples has to do with Benny. Along with the rest of us, his habits are in flux. As a result of the drip irrigation, removal of grass, and new traffic pattern, his previous patch of dead brown crabgrass (ie. toilet) is no longer recognizable to the human eye. Of course, being a dog, he can still sniff it out somehow and returns to exactly the same spot even though it has been completely transformed. This simply won't do as far as I'm concerned. With the clean, new designI have a renewed standard for this beach grass and intend to keep it green and hygienic.
As responsible loving owners, we factored his needs into the plan and actually had better things in mind for him too. Namely, a custom patch of astroturf around the side yard. It's an upgrade: deodorized, and private--whether he knows it or not.
The prophetic parallel from God showed itself in the interim before the turf was complete. Ben was so confused and tentative. I'd "auckk" at him in gutteral canine correction for so much as stepping on the pristine mulch. I think it was clear to him what not to do, but he was clueless what I wanted instead. What were his alternatives?
For several days, he'd hang by the back door looking back at me with each individual step of his four paws, as if to say, "Is this ok? How 'bout here?" It was a game of "hot and cold" where he checked in with me to see if he was on the right track.
It was so cute in a pathetic sort of way. Here he is beseechingly wondering whether he'd found a suitable compromise. It was off the mulch, away from the grass seedlings. Okay, that worked as a stop gap and demonstrated to me his adaptability and nimble mind. All the while, Jim was skeptical, "Let him go on the mulch. He's a dog. You really think you can retrain him?" He forgot how much behavior mod I had under my belt.
My poor dog had to struggle a bit to figure out what I was after. But I am here to tell you that he did! My lucky dog, I had his best interests at heart. It's official folks: you can, in fact, without a doubt, teach an old dog new tricks! Benny loves this spot and visits it happily every morning for all his toileting needs. Master and best friend are happy:)
The good news is, we are all retrainable too. What is the Lord my Master asking of me today? Can I watch and listen for His feedback closely enough to figure it out? Do I crave His good pleasure? Am I attentive to His directions to go right and turn left? Do I live to hear His praise?
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20-22
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:21-23
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-20