Friday of this week I gave a chapel talk to the elementary students at Kirkland Seventh-day Adventist School. I told them what I learned about God from some animals and birds in my life on a South Dakota farm.

Poochie, our dark-brown boxer, was not a particularly friendly dog. He seemed to regard himself as a farm employee rather than a pet. I would have preferred that he leap happily after me as I walked through pastures, and come when I called him, and maybe fetch things I threw. He did none of these things, but would regularly appear at feeding time.

Poochie did a lot of his farm work behind the scenes—in all my years on our farm I never saw a single rat, because Poochie had dealt with them, discreetly and away from view. Field mice were also surprisingly scarce. Evidently he felt that farm cats fell somewhat into the category of rats; though he would allow them to live, he would take it upon himself to chase them fiercely from the yard whenever our car drove into the driveway.

I told the kids that even though I would have preferred Poochie to be more dog-like, he taught me that when you have a job to do, do it well. Which was exactly what Poochie did.

And which is exactly what God has been doing, all these centuries and centuries, to sustain us and redeem us and draw us back to Him.