Posted by: Kara Luker | November 8, 2022

Us with God

It has been nearly five months since I wrote a post about my dog, Sunny, which is frankly shocking and makes me think you must be longing for another. So here it is my friends, just for you.

Earlier in her puppyhood, Sunny was fond of us, her doting family, but she was equally fond of running through the open front door and dashing down the middle of the street like a sprung prisoner seeking freedom or maybe more like an illegal firework mistakenly shot off sideways. Neighbors from all directions would hightail it from their yards to try to grab her collar as I sprinted from behind calling her name and frantically hoping she didn’t run out onto the main street or get hit by a car as she zig zagged to avoid capture.

We weren’t only concerned about her safety on the street, but also doubted her trustworthiness off leash in other places. We were very aware that an opportunity for some quick fun created instant amnesia of her training – and of our existence altogether – and “Come!” was internally translated as “Be free, young pup! Run like the wind!” It seemed likely that she would chase that shiny opportunity down the sand or trail into the horizon, never to be seen again… except maybe by a new family who would find and keep her; one she would like just as well because why not?

Despite her focus on the titillating things in the great beyond, we continued to feed her and train her and nurture her. We took her on walks and outings to fun places and to the vet when her ear was infected yet again. We scratched her favorite spots and played with her, throwing balls and toys and the frisbees she never tires of. We called her name over and over until she knew who she was. And she learned our names too – Dad, Mom and Chase (and her grandma “Bestemor” too). Somehow, in the midst of this relationship of provision and love in which she was almost entirely a recipient, an awareness happened that affected her behavior. She came to recognize something that was always true… that her identity is entwined with ours; that she is not just “Sunny, the lone dog” but something more akin to “Sunny with us.” 

I won’t pretend that I trust her off leash where cars are involved and there is still a possibility that she will dash through the open front door if she’s feeling feisty to do zoomies around our front yard and pee on my parents’ grass (sorry guys!). But I now have zero doubt that after she expends a minute or two of her notoriously spazzy energy, she will come right back to our front door and gladly, willingly enter our home where she knows she belongs.

This change seems especially evident in her behavior off leash at places like dog beach where she still enjoys a good romp with other playful pups but her primary concern has become where we are. She does not lose track of us. Ever. She checks in regularly and has no trouble leaving the excitement behind if we are getting too far ahead. Sometimes I even have to give her some hearty encouragement to leave my side and enjoy the surroundings. Who would have thought? 

I can’t help but think how much this is like our relationship with God. So many of us start out thinking we are independent creatures. We have little or no awareness of our place in God’s family, the provision happening for us every day or the ways we are risking our wellbeing as we live with a focus on the titillating (and terrifying) things in the great beyond. But that’s okay. Because God is in it for the long haul. He will continue to love us and train us and nurture us and comfort us and protect us. He will play with us and laugh at our puppy-like antics, knowing that we are growing into a realization of our belonging to this God who entered into our little existence with such devotion that He called himself “God with us.” It’s no wonder that after a time, we will no longer consider ourselves as orphans or lone rangers, but something more akin to “Us with God.” 

That doesn’t mean we are perfectly trained people without a penchant for distraction, but it does mean that we become increasingly aware that our happiness and wellbeing are intrinsically tied to this God who loves us. With that knowledge comes freedom, security and purpose. And, dare I say, a whole lot more opportunities for non-life-threatening/hair-on-fire/sideways-shooting-rocket kind of fun. 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23


  1. An effective and all-too-accurate metaphor, Kara!

    • Thank you, Mitch!

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