God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31a
National Puppy Day is on March 23. Apparently, it was established as a way to bring awareness to the inherent goodness pets brings into our lives as well attention to the fact that many animals still live in cruel conditions, notably dogs. There is something naturally good about a dog. There are many essentially good things in creation even though it is subject to this fallen reality. Now you may have your preferences and you are allowed your choices. For example, you may be very dogmatic about your canine’s characteristics or you may hold a ferocious catechesis towards your feline’s frisky features. And that is all good.
Let us focus on the goodness of a dog for a just a moment. Why is it that dogs make such good companions for people in crisis? What is it that makes a dog ready made to provide needed support to those in need? They are naturally attuned to human the condition. Now, some may reflect on that thought and offer the jaded reply that dogs are just being conditioned to a response.
That may be true. It is a conditioned response, however, because God conditioned that response. That is because God is good.
What is good? Are there things that can still be good even though we live in this world of sin? God is constant in his goodness. He is impeccable in his providence. The God who gave his Son for all is also the one who still provides the sun to shine and the rain to fall.
The quiet loyalty of a dog serves as a gentle reminder that God is good. And there are still many “goods” in life that we can turn to remind us of our Savior’s abiding love. What a wonderful exercise to share with a client in crisis or a couple in need. Walk that person through a survey of life and help them to find gratitude in the “goods” of God — in his impeccable and predictable and regular everyday mercies.
Martin Luther has been quoted as saying this about the loyal goodness of a dog: “The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
Our Lord God made his greatest gifts the commonest. In love, God has fashioned you in the likeness of Christ. You are now made new. The Lord God looks at you through his Son, Jesus, he sees what he has made, and it is very good.
It is also very good how we are now able to express this newness of life. What beauty lies in the common, shared gift of compassion! How soothing are the caring words of a loved one or the support of an empathetic heart! With common, regular, consistent love, God still provides the world with good. And you, dear friend, are one of them.
O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Amen.