by Corrie McCann, Women-to-Women Ministry Training
This summer I enjoyed a much-needed sabbatical. One of my goals was to not only read about spiritual disciplines, but to practice them. My husband and I had the privilege of spending an entire week at a ranch for a spiritual retreat. This ranch had some of the cutest Aussie dogs we had seen, and yet we had been instructed to ignore them … a difficult task for dog lovers like us.
One sunny morning at the ranch, after reading about how God calls us to intimacy and how we can easily miss his calling, I decided to go for a walk. As I set out, one of the ranch dogs joined me. Trying follow the ranch rules, I ignored him. Nonplussed, the dog followed me joyfully into a sea of aspens. Further down the path, the ranch dog happily put a stick in my path and waited with glee for me to throw it for him. I pressed on with my walk, barely glancing in his direction.
Persevering in his desire for fun, he brought yet another stick for me, this time with a slight garble from his throat that I took to mean, “Come on, let’s play.” Call me cold-hearted, but I was determined to follow the instructions I had been given. I didn’t even give him a pat on the head. Instead, I proceeded to walk and talk to the Lord.
Then, the thought came to me with force, and I suddenly threw back my head and laughed. “You are like that dog, aren’t you, Lord? You are joyfully waiting for me, whether I acknowledge you or not. You pursue me to enjoy your presence. You patiently walk on with me, even when I am determined not to fellowship with you.” That sweet little ranch dog’s face is indelibly imprinted on my mind, a reminder of my father beckoning me with joy.