“Another type is the love of a man for a beast – a relation constantly used in scripture to symbolize the relation between God and men; “we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” … Its great merit lies in the fact that the association of man and dog is primarily for man’s sake: he tames the dog primarily that he may love it, not that it may love him, and that it may serve him, not that he may serve it. Yet at the same time, the dog’s interests are not sacrificed to the man’s. The one end (that he may love it) cannot be fully attained unless it also, in its fashion, loves him, nor can it serve him unless he, in a different fashion, serves it.
Now just because the dog is by human standards one of the “best” of irrational creatures, and a proper object for a man to love – of course, with that degree and kind of love which is proper to such an object…man interferes with the dog and makes it more loveable than it was in mere nature. In its state of nature it has a smell, and habits, which frustrate man’s love: he washes it, house-trains it, teaches it not to steal, and is so enabled to love it completely.
To the puppy the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the “goodness” of man: but the full-grown and full-trained dog, larger, healthier, and longer-lived than the wild dog, and admitted, as it were by Grace, to a whole world of affections, loyalties, interests and comforts entirely beyond its animal destiny, would have no such doubts.
It will be noted that the man takes all these pains with the dog, and gives all these pains to the dog, only because it is an animal high in the scale – because it is so nearly loveable that it is worth his while to make it fully loveable. He does not house-train the earwig or give baths to centipedes. We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses – that He would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves: but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less.“
-C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
God’s grace in my life today:
I am so thankful for my Hou-baby!
There’s nothing quite like sloppy, wet kisses from a huge dog who adores you!
And I’m thankful that God loves me enough to make me more like Jesus and less like my natural (sinful) self.