Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Boy Who Became a Dog

(an allegory)

Richard and Salle Sandlin

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh…” (1Tim.3:16)

There was once a kind, loving, and very rich Father, who owned a great plantation with acres of beautiful, green, rolling hills. This Father had an only child, a Son that He loved with all His great heart, and this same love was mirrored in the heart of His obedient Son.

There came a day when the Father and Son who were walking together, “chanced” to see a pack of wild, hungry dogs scrounging for something to ease their hunger. They were torn and bloody from fighting among themselves, and it was easy to see they suffered at the hands of a wicked master.

The Father stood for a great while watching the pitiful dogs, with His Son, all the while, watching Him. Finally the Father spoke.

“Oh, my Son, I know these creatures must be in awful misery. I do wish I could understand just how they feel; and I greatly desire to have them come to live with us. But neither is possible.” Suddenly, the Son realized that here was something He could do for the Father that He loved and wanted only to please.

“If I could somehow become a dog, Father, I could tell you all about them, and even better, I could tell them about you. They would all surely want to come and live at your house.”

The Father (who was able to do such things) looked intently into His Son’s eyes, and replied, “Son, I can give you the form of a dog, and the other dogs will think you are one of them, even though you will still be a human. But, I must warn you, although you will always be my Son, you will always look like them.” The Son realized that this would indeed be a high price to pay, and He would greatly miss being at home with His Father. But He also knew that this was the only way to fulfill the desire of His Father’s heart, and since this was His greatest desire, He would do it.

So, one day a little girl dog (hardly more than a puppy herself) gave birth to a boy puppy in a lean-to barn out under the stars. The birth was a miracle, because she had never been with a male dog, therefore, the puppy did not have a canine father. As He grew, the other dogs sensed there was something different about this dog (who, of course, was the Son), and at first, they were amazed by the things he could do and the kindness he showed to them. But later, when he began telling them that even though he looked like them, he was his Father’s Son, they became angry and jealous of him.

They followed him everywhere he went, taunting him, saying over and over, “Tell us the truth; are you a dog or a man?” And the Son would patiently tell them about his real home, and his loving Father who had sent him so that they, too, could come and live in his wonderful home forever. The only requirement was that they must admit what they were and acknowledge that he was a man and not just a dog. Some did believe and chose to follow the Son wherever he went. They were mistreated, too. Truly, the Son learned the great misery of being a dog, and His heart broke for them.

At one point, he was so overcome with pity for them that he cried, “Oh, dogs, dogs, I would take you all to my Father’s house, but you refuse!”

Finally, the dogs tired of his stories and his insistence of his true origin, and decided to kill him. This they did in a very cruel and hateful way. The dogs who had believed and followed him wondered what would happen then. But, again by a miracle, after three days, the Son who became a dog was raised by His Father, from the dead. He told the believing dogs that He must now return to His Father, and that they would come later. For since they had believed Him, and chosen to follow Him, the Father loved them now as He loved His Son. They would come to understand later that somehow His Death and Resurrection made all this possible.

And just as the Son promised, the dogs are now able to go and live at the Father’s house…as though they had always belonged there. It is even more wonderful than they imagine. Now, in great numbers, they gather to give praise and worship to the Father and Son. And, one day, when they have all reached the Father’s house, they will look at them, and think how strange it is to see the Son, still in their likeness, sitting next to His Father. And they will know that He chose to become one of them.

I wonder if those dogs truly understood how humbling it was for the Son to become a dog? and how much the Father must have loved them? Do you?

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