Les Sillars – The discipline of natural consequences


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, August 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here’s commentator Les Sillars now on why he’s going to try not to chase cars.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: I grew up on an acreage in central Alberta. When I was about 9 we got a collie and named her Joby. She was a bit undersized for a purebred and lacked the mane of white fur but she was, overall, a good dog.

Joby loved to chase sticks. You’d step outside, and there was Joby with a stick from the woods out back. Then she’d drop it just out of reach, about 4 feet away, and eye you expectantly. “I brought it this far,” she seemed to say. “Your turn.”

For a long time she would chase any stick we threw. Then one day I threw a pretty heavy branch out there. She charged after it, but one end got caught in the ground and the other jammed into her lower jaw. There was a yelp and a flurry of spinning fur. 

After that, she insisted on picking the sticks herself. So they got smaller and smaller. Eventually she would just spit out a strip of soggy bark and expect you to throw it.

Joby had some weaknesses, mainly the miniature horses in the field across the road. Once from the driveway I saw her sneaking across the road to chase the poor creatures, so I hollered at her. She startled, then slinked away from me. She circled around behind the neighbor’s house and came up from the opposite direction, tail wagging. Nice try.

Worse, Joby sometimes chased cars. When she spotted one coming up the road, heading north, she would charge down the lawn heading southwest. She’d time it just right to graze past the car’s back bumper, barking furiously.

One time, though, the driver saw her coming and suddenly braked. Joby slammed full speed into the rear fender, nose first. Our neighbor said she lay there in the road for a bit, stunned. Then she got up and staggered back to the house. That’s probably how she lost the one tooth.

We’ve all got a little Joby in us. Some things we know are wrong, but we just can’t help ourselves. Sooner or later, that sin blows up in our faces and leaves us dazed and damaged. It’s the discipline of natural consequences.

When God disciplines us in that way, we, unlike Joby, can at least recognize what happened.

Joby eventually got too old and stiff even to chase sticks. When I was at college I got a call from my dad. He’d taken Joby in to the vet to be put down. It was a sad day.

I myself am slowing down a little. But I’m still joyfully chasing a few sticks that the Lord has tossed out ahead of me. May He grant me grace to resist chasing any cars.

SONG: If only I could have a puppy

I’d call myself so very lucky

Just to have some company

To share a cup of tea with me

I’m Les Sillars.

SONG: I’d take my puppy everywhere

La, la, la, la, I wouldn’t care

Then we’ll stay away from crowds

With signs that said “no dogs allowed”

Oh we, I know he’d never bite me

Up, la, la, la, la, la, ooh

We, I know he’d never bite me

Up, la, oh


(Photo/iStock)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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