Similar: Embracing God and Pit Bulls

Warning: The following is based on a true story. Any similarity to people and events in my family is wholly intentional, based on my real and previously doggy polluted, and fallen, imagination!

Over Spring Break we had a houseful of family visiting with us for 8 days. Not only did this mean 8 additional people in our home, including two under the age of one, but it also meant the arrival of a pitbull named Bully! Whoa!! Talk about scared (and that was just of the two who were under the age of one! It’s been awhile since my daughters were young and kicking & screaming like that!)

But what was super scary was the thought of trying to embrace a pitbull and not being able to get any sleep 24 hours a day, for 8 days in a row! Talk about a frightening thought!

And, of course, EVERYTHING I had ever feared about pitbulls came true!

As soon as Bully entered the door with his massive body, and the thick steel chain and collar around his neck (that I demanded), he looked me right in the face with those fierce and weird Golden eyes, preparing for his attack!

“Get down Bully!!” his master yelled as he ran, throwing all his weighty muscle upon me, eager to destroy me as he began to hurt…I mean “Hump my leg for goodness sake?!” “He’s in heat and he likes you already! Down, Bully Down!” his master laughed. “Yes, down you filthy beast”, I said as I woke up from my brief fainting spell(I couldn’t be out for too long and let him destroy me!) But Bully was nowhere to be seen. He was however to be heard as he ran furiously through the house, banging against walls, chasing down our little less-than 5lb shih-tzu, Remy! “Noooooooo…”, I screamed in horror as I ran into the other room and saw Bully begin to swallow her whol…I mean “smell her rear end, whole?!” “And look! Remy seems to be standing up to him better than I am! What’s going on here?! This is insane”

The rest of the 8 days went similarly as Bully truly caused my heart to drop when I saw him take my oldest daughters right arm into his mouth, teeth agape, and chomp down with “ferocity”, I mean “fun loving play with just the right bite pressure???! Can’t be!” And then he “attacked” me, AGAIN, knocking me to the ground and taking my left arm into his mouth, “tearing my flesh apart”, I mean “training me to play with him???!” Impossible! I’ve heard about their bite and the impossibility of prying their mouths open as they clamp down till you’re dead!”

The last straw came as I heard him howling on the 7th day with “fury”, and with a high pitched “shriek” (or was that a howl of pain and a lonely, whining cry for relationship and wanting to be around people???! His tail is wagging furiously like a puppies!) that broke me down and made me determined that he had to go home…I mean – come inside our home with me so that I could give him some “suga”, hugs, snacks, relationship and play, and feel even more secure with him inside to protect all of us! “What?! This is turning my pitbull world upside down!!!”

Yes, instead of me breaking him, he broke me! He won me over! On the last day of his stay I played with Bully the Pit Bull joyfully and happily, tussling with him on the lawn, putting my arm into his mouth (on purpose!), letting him lick my face, and pressing others to take pictures of he and I together in relationship. I sure miss him!!!

Yes, embracing God and pitbulls can be similar! I must admit, my embrace of the God revealed in Jesus Christ has been about as challenging, scary, and positively transforming! No, make that WAY MORE CHALLENGING AND WAY MORE POSITIVELY TRANSFORMING! It’s one thing to have a wretched “pitbullology” and fear physical death. It’s a whole other thing to have wretched theology, inducing a fear of the God intent to put my soul to death and in the fires of hell forever if I didn’t confess his name, go to church, or keep His rules! Yikes!

Like my experience with Bully the pitbull, it has taken me various frightening experiences and interactions with God the Father, Son and Spirit over MANY YEARS to finally begin interpreting his interaction and movement toward me in a graceful and relational way as he said and demonstrated in Jesus! John 3:17. My wretched theology had convinced me that God was single and solitary and only drew near me to attack me for not keeping his rules. He was always and only sniffing around my life because he was a control freak and “large and in charge”. Those times he was snarling and howling at the things that were trying to hurt me, I misinterpreted as a personal attack on me (or others).

And those things I misinterpreted as “shrieking howls” and “piercing whines” deep in my soul I now see were not intended to make me shiver with fright but were one of his various ways of “singing over me” and clamoring for my time and attention in his loving discipline. Zephaniah 3:17.

I am happy to say that because of more relational grace, clarity and jaw-dropping Spirit led education, the triune God of grace has broken me and won me over! And unlike Bully, the pitbull, my relationship with Him in Jesus (and yours) will never end, and is not TRULY to be feared at all! 1 John 4:18. And, fortunately for all of humanity, we have been embraced by the Father, Son and Spirit in such a way, and in such vibrant relationship, he’ll never let us go!  This is permanently revealed in Jesus Christ! Colossians 2:9.

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8 comments so far

  1. Jeannine on

    So awesome, Pastor Timothy. This part put tears right into my eyes: “Those times he was snarling and howling at the things that were trying to hurt me, I misinterpreted as a personal attack on me (or others).” That resonated with me so much. LOVE!

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks, Jeannine! Isn’t it amazing how through Jesus and His Spirit the Father transforms our eyes to see and feel the truth about his interactions with us, relieving us of our burdensome fears? So grateful for your distinct journey and experience in this truth, sis! Peace and Blessings!

  2. Lance McKinnon on

    Love it Tim. What a great picture of how our view of God affects every aspect of our experience with him. Just goes to show that new dogs can teach old dogs new tricks.

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks Lance! Boy do I miss seeing and interacting with you in the brotherhood! You sound well and as Gospel as I last remember 🙂 You have expressed the Gospel EXCELLENTLY in Jesus: “Just goes to show that new dogs can teach old dogs new tricks.” Ha-Ha! How paradoxically true! Seems our real problem is an internal vision problem as you wrote. Lord, continue to give us your eyes that we might see! Peace and Blessings!

  3. Jill Valentine on

    Loved it! What a great illustration of God’s gentle and persuasive love overcoming all our fears and preconceptions!
    Do you think that there might even be a similar lesson to be learned from cockroaches?!!
    Just one thing, Pastor Tim, I don’t think Bully could have been in heat, unless he was a she!
    With love and blessings.

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks Momma Valentine!

      Yes, I think there is a similar lesson with cockroaches and I have learned it, too! Ha-Ha! That which I feared actually came upon me one day when I actually had one of those critters crawl on my face while I was sleep and wake me up! Boy did I turn the room upside down till I crushed and killed him! Couldn’t sleep easily for weeks, but now I am fearless (at least a little more fearless than I was before that happened! Ha-Ha!

      I stand corrected on that heat issue! I should have said he was hot for the female in heat – either way – there were some hot dogs in the house! 🙂 Peace, Much Love and Blessings to You!

  4. John Geerlings on

    Hi Tim
    What a great personal write, and how it relates to all of us in this illusion “dog e dog world”. It’s great to have our souls opened by His faith to the reality that is and how the love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in their gentleness as One touch us individually and uniquely allowing a change of mind. We have all been barking up the wrong tree far too long, haven’t we?

    • tjbrassell on

      Ha-Ha! Loving his shared humor in you John! I have been out of town and that explains my late reply! Glad to be conversing and laughing with you in the Gospel after these many years. And to think we’re still just beginning as He walks and leads us in His glorious Freedom by the Leash of the Holy Spirit! 🙂 Peace, Love and Blessings!

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