Man's (and woman's) best friend

A Christian Science perspective.

Courtesy of Brad Bradstreet
"Sandy," waiting for his next command.

We've all heard that man's best friend is his dog. The Monitor's feature, "It's a dog's life," tells of the special care that dog owners are lavishing on their pets, even in tough financial times.

There's something wonderful about being greeted by a dog – tail wagging, barking hello – or so excited all he can do is squeak instead of bark. This relationship is an example of unconditional love and is very special. It never fades. It is constant and true.

As I've reflected on this loving relationship, I've seen signs of the ultimate experience of unconditional love – the relationship between God and His children, which includes each of us. This relationship is very special and is always there. One synonym for God is Love. And God's love for us never starts or ends or fades; it's eternal. As Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation. As the apostle expressed it,... 'For we are also His offspring' " ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 332).

Accepting and responding to God's unconditional love takes willingness and obedience. Most dog owners have a set of commands they use with their dog, and, in a sense, those commands help me think about my relationship with God and His guidance of me and of each of us as His sons and daughters.

For example, take such commands as "Come," "Sit," "Stay," and "Quiet." We've used these with our dog Sandy, a mix whom we've identified as a "miniature Lab." And he knows them well. (Actually, we're still working on "Quiet.") When I think of my relationship to God, "come" to God means relying on Him for all my support, health, and goodness. I can "sit" at His feet, so to speak, being still and listening to what He has to say in all my activities. I can "stay" – holding with God's guidance in everything I do. And be "quiet" – silencing the chatter that distracts me from what He is telling me and listening to His still, small voice.

Actually, we walk with God at all times. The Bible says, "The Lord shall guide thee continually" (Isa. 58:11). He is there to guide us and show us the all-loving, all-powerful, all-intelligent God, good. "All" is a big word. And since God is all, there can be nothing else. There is no room for error, doubt, fear, lack, or sorrow. These cannot be a part of God's perfection and harmony.

We can come to God – be with God, rely on God – and be free from evil. We are with God at all times and in all places. As we are conscious of divine presence, we see that each one of us is His reflection – the perfect image of Life, Truth, and Love. And we are and ever will be with God. There can be no wandering off, because God is everywhere. Our comfort and protection are from Him, and they are constant – always. Understanding our relationship with God and following His direction is not a Sunday, once-a-week thing. It is all day, every day.

We need to understand our closeness to God and express His qualities in everything we do. The commands associated with caring for dogs can enable us to see the simplicity and depth of God's love for us. Willingness to listen to and follow His commands keeps us safe and joyful in His care.

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