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Holding on Tight

A family dog offers insights into how God walks beside us, step by step.

Jimmy as a toddler learning to walk with the family dog, Sherlock.

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

As a parent, one of my sweetest memories happened while teaching our oldest son to walk. He began like all kids, pulling up on anything nearby. And one day that nearby handhold was our blonde cocker spaniel, Sherlock. I was standing in the kitchen doorway, looking into the living room when it happened.

Jimmy as a toddler learning to walk with the family dog, Sherlock.Before I could utter a sound, Jimmy had locked his small fists into Sherlock’s fur and pulled himself up. My first impulse was to snatch him away from possible danger, but before I could reach him, Sherlock took matters into his own hands . . . er, paws.

Totally unconcerned or inconvenienced, the dog began to take small steps. He’d step, wait for Jimmy to step, and then repeat the process. Both of them were locked in concentration and seemingly unaware I had moved close enough to keep disaster at bay.

Slowly, the two made their way across the room, Sherlock keeping one doggy eye on the swaying toddler. Once there, Jimmy let go and plopped down.

Sherlock sat beside him. In a few moments Jimmy began to giggle and smile. He reached out, and Sherlock moved to stand within reach. Jimmy grabbed hold again, and back across the room they went. This was the way Jimmy learned to walk.

This was a perfect picture of how God supports us. He matches His steps to ours–keeping us in sight–while encouraging us to learn and grow. He guides us, protects us, and encourages us. And not just us, but those we love.

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