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Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Skunk, a Retractable Leash, and God

As you will know if you have visited my website ( we have a miniature Schnauzer named Abby. Actually, she has her own webpage, click here to view it.

One of my jobs each night is to go outside with Abby so she can take care of "business."

This past Tuesday night as we went outside, Abby discovered something she thought interesting and took off running into the lot next door. I did see her do a quick jump, spin, etc., but didn't think much of it. She did more running and some barking, but these are all fairly usual for her.

As we continued our journey around the house, I noticed an odor in the air. Well, in our neck of the woods, "that odor" is one thing - a skunk. But, then again, that is not unusual either.

We continued our journey and went inside the house. The odor persisted in the house, but that also is not unusual when the smell is strong outside. However, I did wonder and I bent down to smell Abby. Well, it had been some time since her last bath so she didn't smell pretty, but nothing stung my nose, so I didn't think more of it.

Then, we went into the bedroom, where Donna commented on the smell and how strong it was. OK, short story long, Abby HAD got it, at least some of it - enough to make her unpleasant to be around. So, Donna sprayed her with some "smell better" stuff and lit a Yankee Candle tart.

Well, Wednesday came and I went to work. Later in the day, Donna revealed that she couldn't take it any longer and had given Abby a bath - actually 2 baths.

So, when I got home (and she did smell much better when she greeted me at the door), it was again time for me to do the nightly honors. However, with "the odor" already present in the air outside, I knew we didn't want to risk the previous night's adventure with a clean Abby.

Out came the halter and retractable leash and then the trip outside.

Abby, of course, wanted to explore so I willingly went with her, but in those areas (especially along the back fence) that I wasn't sure about I held the leash so that she could not enter those areas.

Our retractable leash allows about a 15 foot distance from "holder" to "restrainee" so Abby had a circle with about a 30 foot diameter that she was FREE to roam, and I was moving so this circle was constantly being expanded for her. However, she generally stayed at the far end of the restraint and wanted more.

Then, I thought about God!

There is a continuing struggle in theological circles about God's sovereignty and human freedom.

I did wonder if God's sovereignty might not somehow be like that retractable leash. He is in control. As His child, He puts restraints on my life, both for my protection and for His glory. Yet, He willingly lets me to wander and explore "freely" as long as I stay within the realm of what He allows. Of course, I often push to the end of the restraint and want more freedom, but God knows what is best and so He lovingly holds the leash steady and keeps me from the danger that I would so readily get into.

Hmmm...a skunk, a retractable leash, and God...

I wonder!


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