By Brother Uche Nwosu
Throw and Catch
I went to my favorite park to relax on a picture perfect day. From within my car, I saw a dog lying happily on its side in the grass enjoying nature. It looked so content; in fact, it seemed ecstatic. Its mouth was open, its tongue curled sideways hanging out of its mouth, panting, as waves of fresh breeze caressed. Of course, its tail was wagging.
Then it began to roll on the grass playfully the way dogs do when they experience bliss. Rolling from side to side and facing upwards on its back. It was also twisting and turning its head trying to do the impossible, like to touch its back.
I noticed that it had a blue ball, probably a racketball. It was rolling over it and mouthing around with it. All of a sudden it got off the ground unto its feet and trotted over to his owner who was anywhere between 15 to 20 feet away. He was a fairly burly fellow heaped upon the grass, attentively watching his dog revel in its dog-day-at-the-park. They seem to be making eye contact. I could see the delicate eyes of this female Rottweiler (not 100% sure of the breed) beckoning to the master in love. She drops down the ball as if to say “It is you that I love more than this ball, even though I absolutely love it.”
Then I realize the man has a racketball racket. He picks up the ball, while the dog is on his get-set, or would I say, jet set, mode. His feet were moving, and his eyes were on the ball, apparently in readiness to race off, jump, and catch the ball. I have severally seen people do that with their canine pets, but this was to be a little different.
The owner served the ball not more than 4 feet high, and not more than 4 feet away, from his half sitting half lying position. It seems like the dog was in the early stages of pregnancy, so he didn’t want to overstretch her. Notwithstanding, proud doggy never missed. She blissfully returned the ball for subsequent rounds of throw and catch.
She didn’t return the ball immediately, occasionally. She would play with it the way I had observed initially, rolling over it and trying to twist her neck to get it when the ball happened to end up behind her. She was simply kidding around. Maybe it was some kind of rest intermission as well. Once or twice that I observed, this dog would face the master in a lion pose, paying utmost attention. It was as if to say, “Your wish is my command, simply speak the word.” I couldn’t see the man’s face from my vantage point, but soon enough doggy was trotting over for more intimate bonding, as well as another throw and catch.
All through, I was glorifying God for His wonderful Creation. I reasoned that animals had a better appreciation for the Lord’s handiwork than we humans. I thought we could learn a thing or two from them. I also gave thanks to God for His tender loving kindness to man wherewith He gifted us with amazing creatures like dogs.
No sooner than I took my eyes off this spectacle, taking a cat nap, that I realized they were gone. No sight of dog and master. The lush green segment of the park where the drama had been staged was now exclusively, waving leaves and flowers, of the trees, and dark shadows of the trees on the ground.
It suddenly dawned on me that the Lord had spoken to me. The whole episode unbeknown to the actors, had been staged to instruct the child of the Most High. It’s not the first time God has spoken to me by means of a dramatization. In fact, twice before, dogs have been center stage in these lessons. One of these episodes also occurred in a park, albeit a different one.
God quite often speaks using symbolism.
I realized this man was an allegory of the Lord. The dog was a picture of the kind of child and servant God desires us to be. The blue racket ball represents the gift of God. Blue is the color of the heavens, the dwelling place of the Lord. The moral of the story: the kind of relationship that the Lord wants with His own. The church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32). Therefore, each of us must learn from that dog.
It was the man that gifted his dog with the ball. It was he that brought her to the blissful environment of the park. They came to the park to enjoy each other; to bask in the serenity of the beautiful environment, and bond in the game of throw and catch. They were resting in each others presence. It was an allegory of the Sabbath where God’s people gather to worship Him and leave thoroughly replenished.
Truly, it is God that has given us all good things to enjoy (Psalm 104:1, 104:14-15, Read Psalm 194:1-35). He is the Creator of our universe (Genesis 1:1, 1:20, 1:24, 1:26-27, Psalm 95:3-6, 90:1-2). He gave us food and drink, as well as habitation. He gave us the earth that is full of riches. Gold, silver, diamonds, and rubies, are all mined from the earth. He gave us the wonderful creatures that we adopt as pets. He knew they would edify us.
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man…. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth….”
(Genesis 2:18, 2:22, 1:27-28)
Above and beyond any other gift of Creation, God gave us one another. He made the man and the woman, and brought them together. He put the seed of procreation in the man, and made the woman to be the fertile recipient of that seed. God blessed husband and wife with offspring. This is how family and nations came about.
“The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” (Isaiah 1:3)
In contrast to humans that neglect God, and fail to give Him due reverence, it appears like this dog really appreciated her master. Even though she occasionally went away with the ball, and played on her own, she never strayed away from her master. She remained in his view. In fact, it was evident that part of the reason the dog was so happy was the master’s abiding presence. She felt completely safe and secure under his watchful eyes.
“I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel (guidance): my reins (inner man or spirit) also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (troubled). Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:7-11)
The occasional separation by the dog from her owner was not straying nor fleeing nor eloping, but actually demonstrating joy and appreciation for her gift in the view of her master and provider.
As often as she departed with her gift on her short lived journeys, this loyal bride would return to pay homage to her husband. She laid the gift at his feet in humble submission, seeking affirmation, approval, and direction for the next trip. We should frequently rededicate ourselves along with all of God’s blessings to Him. The essence of communion is celebrating our salvation, which was enabled by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The owner was the one that determined how far she would travel, and the height of her glory, by his swinging of the racket. Accordingly, we should allow the Holy Spirit, who is the Hand of God, guide and empower us.
The Lord’s gifts to us are to be utilized in conjunction with Him. As we enjoy His gifts to us, it is only fitting that He is glorified in the process. We are the Lord’s possession because He graciously ransomed us with His own Blood. Therefore, our lives ought to be devoted to Him (2 Timothy 1:6-10).
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
We must not fail to surrender all to Jesus in worship and adoration. When a man purchases a wardrobe for his wife, he should be the primary recipient of the glory of her beauty, otherwise he would be provoked to jealousy. God does get jealous (Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy :23-24).
“On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”
“If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.” (Esther 1:19)
This kind of error in judgment caused Vashti the queen of Persia to lose her crown, during the reign of king Ahasuerus. She refused the king’s attempt to flaunt her beauty to his guests, when he was celebrating the magnificence of his kingdom. Instead, she went off to banquet with her own friends.
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7-13)
God is the one that has anointed us with a measure of His Spirit, therefore He is the one that knows our capabilities. It only makes sense that He define our purpose, as well as set our agendas. It is under this arrangement that we can flourish and succeed.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, set the example for us when He forsook His glory as the Almighty, and humbly accepted to live as a servant. He allowed Himself to be slain and buried by the people He created. Nevertheless, afterwards, He was exalted to the throne by God the Father.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God (The Word of God), thought it not robbery to be equal with God (John 1:1): But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Brother Uche Nwosu encountered the Lord Jesus Christ in 1996. Along with his wife of blessed memory, Mma, he began full time ministry in 2002. They coauthored A Divine Portrait and Tongues Of Christ, in addition to several gospel songs, hymns, and psalms. Their outreach ministry has greatly impacted the South Bay of Los Angeles.