“The Golden Retriever in the sky is watching over us,” declared the doting pet owner, gazing upward as he patted his dog.
At first glance one would assume this to be a whimsical characterization among the many assigned by humans to the Creator. But was it?
Let’s take the descriptor Golden. What more fitting term to characterize the Almighty?
We are told by the apostle John, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all,” and that the main street of Heaven is paved with gold. Further he states there will be no need of the sun there, for the glory of God gives it its light, and Jesus is its lamp.
Numerous scriptural examples relate how mere humans are overpowered when facing the Presence of the Glory of God. Moses’ face shone, and when encountering God, the apostle John fell at his feet “like a dead man,” In like manner the prophet Isaiah declared himself undone and unworthy.
How about Retriever? Jesus said he came to seek and save that which is lost. One of the classic parables told of the sheepherder who leaves 99 sheep to retrieve one stray lamb. And most have heard of the tale of the prodigal son. After having squandered half his father’s estate and realized the error of his ways, upon the son’s homecoming, the father lost all dignity in his haste to run and embrace him.
Scripture indicates the willingness of the Father to meet us more than halfway. He is quoted by the prophet Jeremiah, “Call unto me, and I will answer and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Another well-known verse from James’ epistle says, “Draw near God, and he will draw near to you.”
The redemption story is in essence one of retrieval. “Those that believe in me, though they may die, yet shall live.” The end zone says it well: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Few would deny that the dog is a wonderful gift to humankind. Yet infinitely greater the matchless love of the One who created the dog — and beckons us all to draw near to his glory.
Wynn Hopkins has served as a chaplain volunteer at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.