Last night, our little dog decided it was time to go outside. I tried my best to discourage her and get her to wait until later. Unfortunately, she needed to go out immediately. Even more unfortunately, it was raining. It was not just a light shower, but it was really coming down.

I put on all of my bad weather gear to try and stay dry. I put the dog's coat on her and out we went. I was carrying an umbrella and tried to keep her on a short leash to keep some of the rain off of her. I told her, "If you walk close to me, you won't get wet!"

As I have come to expect, she didn't stay close. She kept running off smelling new and interesting things, getting wetter and wetter.

Why didn't she stay near me? Why did she insist in going her own way even though she knew she was getting wet?

Well, I guess there are several answers. First, she is just a dog and she doesn't understand everything I tell her. She doesn't recognize that what I say is said for her own good. Second, she has a mind of her own. I can try to control her, but unless she wants to do what I say, she can be pretty obstinate about getting her own way.

When we got back in the house, I took a small towel and dried her off pretty well. However, she was still damp and cold. She wanted me to hold her and warm her up. I jokingly told her, "You dumb dog! It's your own fault, and now you want me to make it better."

This little story pretty much illustrates our relationship with God, doesn't it? He says, "If you will just walk close to me, things will be alright." We generally understand what he says, but we often choose not to do what he asks of us. Then when things go wrong in our lives, we come running back to him for comfort. Seems like this is a problem common to human people in every age. Jesus said of the people of Jerusalem:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me. (Matthew 23:37)

I am working on my relationship with God.
Thankfully, God doesn't tell us how dumb we are! Instead, he welcomes us back with open arms! God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us. That's how badly he wants us to be close to him.

The next time you are tempted to wander away from God or go your own way, please remember this. Even though the Father has the power to control us, he won't. He won't make you love him. He won't make you obey him. He won't make you stay close to him. Why? Because he loves us and wants us to love him back. However, he gives us the freedom to choose him or reject him. If we stay close to him, he doesn't want it to be because we are forced to do so. He wants us to be close to him because we love him and WANT to stay close to Him!

Well, the dog and I are working on our relationship. On a much deeper level, I am working on my relationship with God. How about you?

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. (Romans 5:6-10)