Most dogs get nervous if you look them in the eye. When I was a little girl, my spitz, Snowball, jumped around in a fit if I stared at him too long. I remember learning at school to never look a stray dog in the eye, or it might attack you. I read that once in a Weekly Reader article, because I was the kind of kid who actually read Weekly Reader articles, and from then on I walked home from the school bus stop with my head down, so as to avoid all eye contact, stray dogs, and attacks.
Most dogs get nervous…but not basset hounds. Droopy-eyed bassets could win a staring contest, hands down.
I first experienced this when Belle was a few weeks old, and we picked her out from her litter. We sat on the patio in the breeder’s backyard while Belle and her siblings climbed all over us. Then, Belle’s very tired mother wandered over to me. She stepped into my lap, just as her puppies had done, pointed her nose directly at mine, and stared me down. She would not look away. She wouldn’t even blink.
Now that Belle is older, I’m used to this stare-down. But that day with her mother, I was as nervous as Snowball the spitz. Why was she checking me out? Did she know I was going to take away her daughter? And why did I suddenly feel like confessing my sins to this dog who was reading me like a book? I began to feel guilty for things I hadn’t even done.
Look away! Nothing to see here! Eye contact makes me uncomfortable.
But God’s Word says eye contact is a good thing.
“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15)
“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge.” (Psalm 141:8)
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Belle the basset hound fixes her eyes on me, and I must fix my eyes on the Lord. Focus on Him brings a long-term hope to my immediate circumstances. Financial hardships, illnesses, relationship struggles and more all gain an eternal perspective when I stare, not at the problem, but at the Christ.
Fixing my eyes on Jesus also brings conviction of sin. I can’t look long into His holiness without coming face to face with my lack of it. When I look at the Lord, I see my pride, my unbelief, my disobedience. Look away, please, Lord. There is nothing to see here. And yet, thankfully, somehow, focus on Him also brings a fresh vision of His mercy and forgiveness.
A prayer from an eye-contact-avoider: Lord, fix my gaze. “Be Thou my vision,” and let me see Your love, Your holiness, Your grace. Don’t let me look away, uncomfortable with what You reveal. Let me “look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,” and come away changed. (James 1:25) “My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord.” Amen.
Previous Lessons from a Basset Hound:
- Lesson 1: Obedience
- Lesson 2: Perseverance
- Lesson 3: Love
- Lesson 4: Hope
- Lesson 5: Smelling Like Poo
- Lesson 6: Tweet!
- Lesson 7: Reward
- Lesson 8: Wisdom
- Lesson 9: New
- Lesson 10: Friendship
- Lesson 11: Being Stung
- Lesson 12: Acceptance
- Lesson 13: Rest
- Lesson 14: Joy
- Lesson 15: Compassion
- Lesson 16: Sabbath