Copper’s growing up. His bark has lowered an octave and his legs are lengthening. His exuberance and assorted eccentricities also multiply daily. Copper’s just plain funny.
He runs like a speeding rocket right before bedtime – around and around and around the house. Like a bullet racing in circles. (We guess he’s helping himself use up the last of his day’s energy!)
He gallops with a tennis ball in his mouth when he’s happy. And he prances, like a trotting show horse, as he busily travels from one window’s venue to another. Copper gallops and trots like a horse.
He also canters.
The sound his puppy paws make as he canters can be heard from across the house. And cantering means one thing:
Copper has stolen a sock.
He has a thing for socks. Dirty ones are the best. My son’s dirty socks are the most best.
Copper goes on a dirty-sock search early each morning. But here’s the thing. When he finds a sock, he immediately feels guilty. Thus begins the morning canter. He clips along with legs straight and sock hanging from his mouth. And he whines. Whine. Canter. Whine. Canter. It’s as if he’s calling out, “Please catch me! Relieve me of my sinful sock habit!” He seems to want his sin to be discovered by the ones in the house who hold the power to relieve him of his burden. He wants to be found out. In fact, he’ll stop the cantering, give a sigh, and then lie with the sock in front of him if we don’t come quickly. The sock lays there, sort of tempting him, but just out of mouth’s reach. If we delay too long, he begins a frantic search, cantering and whining the whole while, for a place to bury his sinful sock (under a sofa pillow, usually). I used to think he was hiding evidence. I now think he’s trying to hide the tempting sock-morsel from his own eyes.
He so much wants a helper, a rescuer, a burden-lifter.
Do you hear (yes, an inadequate analogy, but still), the poignant lesson for us all in Copper’s attitude toward his sinful sock habit? He somehow, in his small puppy brain, remembers he’s done wrong. But instead of defending his need for socks, or blaming me (the Great Sock Keeper), he wants to be saved from himself. He doesn’t run away and hide. He doesn’t snarl when we arrive to take his beloved sock. He relinquishes his early morning prize with a sort of puppy gratitude:
- He calls out. He cries for help from the One able to rescue him. In his puppy way, he confesses.
- He’s not too embarrassed, or too prideful, to ask for rescue over and over, day after day.
- He trusts my wisdom about his need or lack of need for socks more than he trusts his own.
- And this: Copper wants an unbroken, unhindered relationship with me. He wants to please me and trust me more than he trusts his own abilities to choose well. He knows he’s missing some of the smarts needed to conquer this habit on his own.
I love that Copper calls out. And I love that he immediately wants to crawl up in my lap after his bad deed: He knows he needs me more than he needs socks. I love that he trusts me to still love him as he asks for forgiveness.
In his puppy way, God uses him to teach us a lot about our own sin and the right way to handle our sinful habits. No denial. No defensiveness. No blame. Just a humble crying out. A poignant need for rescue admitted. A trust in His wisdom, and a fervent desire for reconnection through promised forgiveness.
Call to the Lord. He hears your cantering! No sinful habit is too great! He delights to rescue, and what joy you’ll experience when your disobedience is forgiven and your sin is put out of sight! Climb into His arms. He loves you with an everlasting love and He delights to forgive!
This is what God says about His faithful love and ready relief for you in distress, and about the joy you crave when your disobedience weighs heavy on your heart. Hear His words:
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!”
“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt…”
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
(Psalm 4:1, 32:1-2; Jeremiah 31:3)