Wherever He Leads

Our first adventure of the summer is our annual fishing trip.  I pack up my children, my younger brother packs up his kids, our Dad packs up the fishing boat, and we all meet at a state park for a week of fishing. 

Our Labrador Adi was only seven months old when this trip rolled around.  Although she clearly loved the outdoors, I was unsure about how she would respond to sleeping in a tent in the woods.  It didn’t help that I had just read a story about a chocolate Labrador whose first camping trip ended disastrously with the owner having to hike the dog back out of the woods to the car during the middle of the night.  When I voiced my concern to my Mom, she responded with a statement I have never forgotten- “As long as you are there, she’ll be fine.”

Mom was correct.  Adi took to camping like a duck to water.

I was reminded of Mom’s words at the onset of our fishing trip this year.  Usually Dad and my brother take one group of kids out fishing in the boat while Adi and I remain shoreside with the remaining group, supervising them as they fish, hike or swim. Only this year my brother was delayed in joining us. I found myself being presented with the opportunity to join Dad and my girls in the boat for an evening of fishing.  The only hitch was that Adi couldn’t be left back in the cabin unattended. 

Even though this was Adi’s fifth fishing trip we’d never before attempted to take her in the boat.  As a water dog, we were concerned that she might take one look at the water and leap over the side for a swim. I also wasn’t sure how willingly she would jump off the dock and into an unfamiliar vessel that was bobbing on the water. That said, Adi has gone everywhere I have led her- into elevators, past roaring waterfalls, across various types of foot bridges. So I posed the question to my Dad, “What do you think of taking Adi with us?”

“Let’s give it a try,” he responded. 

Once the boat was launched and secured to the dock, my father and children climbed aboard.  With Mom’s words “As long as you are there, she’ll be fine” at the forefront of my mind, I gave Adi the command to enter the boat.  Without hesitation she hopped off the dock and down into the boat.  I followed. 

Calmly Adi stood by my legs as we moved out into the lake her head held high taking in the smells.  Once we anchored, there were moments of restlessness as she tried to understand everything that was transpiring and find her place in the boat.  Once that was settled, she curiously sniffed the fish my girls were catching then laid down for a snooze. 

On our return trip to the dock, she hung her head over the side of the boat and lapped at the passing water.  Never once did she try to jump in for a swim.  Never once did she bark or cry in alarm or protest.  Our Labrador was happy and content because she was with us. Adi would take several more boat rides that week.

While I watched Adi during her maiden voyage, I found the chorus of an old hymn playing through my mind.

“Wherever He leads, I’ll go

Wherever He leads, I’ll go

I’ll follow My Christ who loves me so

Wherever He leads, I’ll go”

B.B. McKinney*

Fishing affords ample opportunity to think.  As I reflected on Adi and the words of that hymn, I found myself pondering this question. –

When Jesus leads me to a new place, an unfamiliar place, an uncomfortable place, how quick am I to surrender my preferences and personal ambitions, any fears and uncertainties and be like my Lab and follow because my greatest desire is to be wherever He goes?

My heart’s desire is to respond in the manner described by Henry Blackaby in his book Experiencing God.

“Lord, I will do anything that Your kingdom requires of me.  Wherever You want me to be, I’ll go.  Whatever the circumstances I’m willing to follow.  If You want to meet a need through my life, I am Your servant; and I will do whatever is required.”

Henry Blackaby*

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].” – Matthew 16:24, Amplified

© 2019-2021, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

*Blackaby, Henry. Experiencing God. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994.

*McKinney, B.B. (1936). “Wherever He Leads” [Lyrics]. https://www.christianmusicandhymns.com/2019/09/wherever-he-leads-ill-go.html

34 thoughts on “Wherever He Leads

  1. 🙂 So lovely! I hope to be like Adi. Your post reminded me of a boat trip taken one dog ago. Our Bernese was not pleased to be in the boat and jumped out. Only when we had him out on the water could he relax. Then, he sat between my husband and I and surveyed his new domain like a pharaoh floating down the Nile!

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  2. This was such a beautiful story! It clearly demonstrates our need to place all things in God’s hands. He is the one who is in control and knows and loves us best. Just as your darling puppy knows to trust you instinctively, so must we trust God with our every footstep.

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  3. Thank you, Beth. Surrendering to and letting Christ lead are thoughts well worth remembering often. I enjoy the descriptions in your posts depicting lessons surrounded by outdoor scenes of peace and order. Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” His plan for a more perfect world. And is not all the out-of-doors a good meeting place for His saints as creation bears witness?

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    1. Thank you GW! I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “is not all the out of doors a good meeting place for His saints as creation bears witness.” My father is an outdoorsman who imparted on each of us kids two things- a love of Jesus and a love of nature. Not only did He teach us the Good News, he also showed us how creation declares God’s glory. I’m truly happiest when I’m outside with a dog by my side. It’s in that place that I can hear the Lord’s voice the clearest. So often I find scripture bubbling up from my heart in response to what I see in creation.

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      1. That is so beautiful, Beth. God blessed you with such a father to teach you so well that you may be well prepared. God blessed your father, too, that He gave Him so apt a disciple who embraced his teaching so well. The Lord’s favor rests on your whole family. God’s goodness is so faithful.

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  4. Diane

    Beth – I remember how impressed I was when you told me how well Adi did in the boat. I never thought of the comparison you just described here. You certainly have a talent of taking every day situations and turning them into some soul searching of my own. I am grateful you are using your God given talents and sharing them with the rest of us!

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  5. PATRICIA B

    Beth, another beautiful and inspiring story. Adi is such a good “teacher.” Thanks for the great words of wisdom, and I’ll thank your Mom for her great words of wisdom! Now you have to get Summer on a boat…….

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    1. Thank you Pat! A boat ride with Summer should be interesting. I’m still wrapping my head around having two dogs in the cabin with us on next year’s fishing trip. We’re eager to get her to a creek to see how she takes to water. She still needs one more round of shots before that will happen.

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  6. Another beautiful doggy devotional, my day just brightened up – thank you Beth! Adi is as photogenic as always, the picture of serenity by your side. How much that needs to be us in our daily life, by our Saviour’s side. Your fishing story reminds me of the Lord calming the storm in the disciples boat; how often we like the disciples panic in the moment, but our Lord says “hush!” and all is calm again. I love the Alan Jackson song too, very pertinent indeed!

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    1. Alan, I’m so glad that today’s lesson was a bright spot in your day. Thank you for sharing the connection you made to Jesus and the disciples in the boat during the storm. I just told Adi your compliment that she’s photogenic. She cocked her ears and her chocolate brown eyes brightened. Her way of saying thank you.

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  7. Wonderful life lesson Beth, I liked your opening line as well, everyone had to pack up their kids, 🙂 Your Adi is such a beautiful dog. We have a boat also that our pups have not been in yet.
    I will always follow our Lord over anything else. He provides for us daily, that is not to be taken lightly for sure.

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  8. This is another wonderful story. I love them all, Beth!
    With tears I remembered a song we sang at church when I was a kid. It is similar to the one you quoted:. “Where He leads me I will follow…Where He lead me I will follow. I’ll go with Him — with Him all the way.” This song was song many times, after someone walked forward and accepted Christ as their Savior. The commitment to go all the way with Christ is what we make when we accept Him as Lord and Savior. Thank you Beth. You brought a wonderful memory with your story of Adi’s first adventure on a boat.

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    1. Thank you so much Mary for sharing the memory that came to mind when you read this lesson. I had never heard that hymn before. I found a lovely rendition of it on youtube. I love how it stuck with me after listening. I’m still humming the chorus as I type.

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    1. Thank you Pastor Pete. It’s so nice to know that these lessons are anticipated and appreciated. I had hoped to post some midmonth lessons this summer, but with a puppy to care for I’m finding it difficult to scratch out time to get what is tumbling around in my mind out on paper. Wow, two dogs in a boat. That must have been an unforgettable voyage. Glad that they enjoyed it so much they were relaxed enough for some puppy play.

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