“I always like a dog so long as he isn’t spelled backward.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
I’m not sure if Chesterton originated the idea that dog spelled backwards equals god? It’s certainly become a popular metaphor. I recently read a piece interpreting this coincidence as a kind of encrypted code for the unconditional way God loves us.
I have a Schoodle named Henry VIII. He gained his unfortunate moniker by virtue of being my 8th dog. Unlike his famous namesake, he’s sweet and guileless.
Watching him chewing on his paw, I knew something was wrong. The embedded sticker was needle thin, nearly piercing all the way through. His eyes never left mine as I rolled him on his back, holding him in my arms. Taking it out was a slow, painful process. He held perfectly still. His trust never wavered.
Although there’s very little Alpha in my nature, Henry willingly yields that role to me. I’m his Alpha. On occasion, something unhappy happens to him, either as a course of nature or at my hand. He’s a dog. He doesn’t understand why I’m prying the thorn out of his paw or giving his muddy self a shower, but he never pulls away.
Unlike Henry, I’m a wary creature. I’ve trusted and had that trust betrayed. And, if I’m truly candid, I haven’t been 100% trustworthy, either. Knowing my nature and weighing my experiences, I can unwittingly slip a degree of caution into my relationship with God, becoming my own Alpha.
The lesson of dog and god isn’t that God loves me like Henry loves me. The lesson is for me is to learn to love God like Henry loves me.
Mercy calls me to lean into His arms and keep my eyes on the One who calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega. Grace whispers that I don’t have to understand everything to trust that He always seeks my good, and that in the pain, there’s a place I can rest.
It just requires keeping my eye on the Alpha.