Hound of Heaven: God, Quincy and Me.

The Hound Of Heaven. This poem by Francis Thompson, a brilliant but tortured drug addict, hits home. It exquisitely describes how a friendly but persistent God pursues us with patience and love. Saints in every age, prodigals all, grasp the pure joy of being caught in the Divine Chase and the utter misery of running away from Him.

Charles Schultz’s hound, Snoopy did something similar, but in a subtle and light, tongue-in cheek style.  It’s interesting that in his Gospel According to Peanuts, the author, Mr. Short reminds us dog is God spelled backwards.

Quincy is my “some-timey” hound. Why do I say my 10 pound poodle is some-timey? The other night I kindly let him do his business out back. When I whistled for him,  he ran to me, likety-split, happily wagging his tail. Hugging him I said, “I just love it when you obey me like that!”

Today–a very different story. When I whistled, he glanced up and gaily went back to exploring all those lovely smells he’d found. I called, yelled and cajoled. Nothing. The pleasures of his doggy world had him in its grasp. Sadly I had to go and fetch him.           (I’m so like that).

So I’m thinking God must feel joy when I obey him—delighted when I come into His presence at his call–sad when I put him on the back burner, caught up in worldly cares and pleasures. Yeah, I think that’s probably right.

Some, with a puritan bent might raise an eyebrow at the notion that God feels joy or disappointment over us… or anything else for that matter.

Others might scoff that it’s anthropomorphic—projecting human traits and feelings onto the Divine. But isn’t believing we can attribute good stuff like love, joy, or bad feelings onto the King of the Universe rather like saying we invented ourselves?

King David, had deep insight into such things. No mean song and dance man, he also wrote some really cool lyrics to a bunch of songs, called psalms. One of them shouts, “Hey, it is He who made us! We did not make ourselves!” Dummy!  Wasn’t David the guy  ”after God’s own heart?” So isn’t it just plain whack-o to buck his insights and talk about projecting our feelings onto the Creator when it’s so completely the opposite.     

The prophet who heard God sing. Zephaniah wrote, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will save and He will rejoice over thee with joy. He will rest in his love. He will joy over thee with singing.” Zeph. 3:17 (Good old KJV)

In the very front of the book, we read how we are all made “in His image.” So, when we sing, dance, celebrate, feel joy, love, peace, good stuff like that, we are reflecting Daddy God. To say he reflects us is absurd, like saying the sun reflects the moon. A more recent song puts it this way, “I find beauty looking through my Father’s eyes.”

So in my relationship with Quincy, my hound, I get a glimpse of how God is happy with me when I trust him, obey him and love Him and others. It’s a good bet, like me with Quincy, Jesus is delighted when I come running at his call.

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 Next post: The Humanity of God? Sound like heresy? Let’s talk.

4 thoughts on “Hound of Heaven: God, Quincy and Me.

  1. Sweet! Thanks, Wade.

    I contend that God has used my puppy to teach me how he loves me. We have a ShihTzu (Lion Dog) named Shi Shi. This is a Chinese breed, and I wanted a Chinese name for her. We acquired her in her ninth week of life. I know so little Chinese, virtually none, but one word fit. It was an onomatopoeia, the expression for pee pee. That was all she was doing, eating, peeing, etc.

    So where is the lesson from our Father? Here it is; no matter what she does, I cannot resist loving her. She pees on the couch and I love her. She eats my new $90 textbook, and I love her. She refuses to come when I call, and I love her.

    My dog trainer friend’s first response, when she learned we had chosen a Shih Tzu, was, “You chose an independent breed.” What’s independent? That means they don’t sit on your lap and cuddle. They may be warm and wiggly, but they wiggle way from you. So like me in my relationship with God.

    My love for this puppy is so persistent that I cannot walk by her and fail to embrace her and rub her tummy. Yes, she reflexively rolls to show her tummy to demand my comforting care, and she begs for food whenever I eat. But once the food is gone, so is she. So like myself and God.

    My refrain for any personal responsibility is, “Out of sight, out of mind.” That is why I have stacks of stuff – paperwork, undone projects, items to take out to the garage – all over the house. I sit and write this with literally scores of undone tasks piled around me, knowing that if I put them away they will never get done. Out of sight out of mind.

    But that is not the case with my puppy. In any given moment, when she is in the other room or napping by the door, I will spontaneously begin to sing about my Shi Shi. Where’s my sweetie? I love her so much. She’s my girl. She may be out of sight, but she is not by any means out of mind. I am obsessed with loving her.

    It was maybe a three months into my infatuation with this peeing, paper-tearing, independent, feed-me-now puppy when I realized that what I felt for my dog was only a shadow of what God feels for me. It was a short step to realizing that a parent’s love for their child is an even more intense image of God in us, the Imago Dei. Yes, a parent would rather die in place of their child, bear the child’s illness as their own, feel the pain of accident, and sorrow of loss – any of these would be gladly taken upon the parent, rather than allow the child to suffer. So like my heavenly Father.

    So, I have caninified myself, seeing myself – independent, messy, disobedient, oblivious – as my puppy. But i have been given a view of my father’s unconditional love for me. Oh, how he loves me.


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