The Dog Story
Christian writer C. S. Lewis tells a story about a man and a dog that can help you understand what God is doing in, to, through, and for you.
Lewis noted that a man gets a dog primarily for the man’s sake. He tames the dog mainly so that he may love the dog, not so that the dog may love him. And he tames the dog so the dog may serve him, not so that he may serve the dog.
Lewis points out, however, that the dog’s interests are not sacrificed to the man’s. The man’s goal of loving the dog can’t be fully reached if the dog doesn’t love him back. And the man’s goal of the dog serving him can’t be fully reached if the man doesn’t serve the dog.
Because the man has decided the dog is a proper object for him to love, the man “interferes” with the dog and makes it more lovable than it was in its natural state. In its natural state the dog has a smell and habits which frustrate the man’s love. So, he washes the dog, house trains it, and teaches it not to steal. By doing this, the man is enabled to love the dog completely.
To the puppy, however, the whole process would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast serious doubts on the “goodness” of the man. But a full-grown and fully-trained dog-larger, healthier, and longer living that a wild dog-would have no such doubts. It would understand that it had received a good life far better than the life it would have achieved on its own.1
Once the master begins to scrub, train, and teach the dog, the dog-if he is really instead a man-will wonder, “What is he doing to me? I thought I was going to run free, that I was joining the cause of Christ?” In Christian terms, the master is “sanctifying” the dog-making it holy, more in the image of Jesus, more able to do something with its life.
God is trying to make you, not break you. That’s because God wants to equip you to do something with your life.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason…
1 Lewis, C. S., The Problem of Pain, (New York: Collier Books, 1962), 43-44.