I learned something about bulldogs last week that fascinated me. The nostrils of a bulldog actually slant backwards. Bulldogs were created for not letting go. When they are hanging on to something with those massive jaws, they can still breathe. Bulldogs are designed by the God of the universe to hang on! Amazing, isn’t it? YourPureBredPuppy.com says a bulldog’s “tenacity and resolve mean that it’s difficult to change his mind once he decides to do something. He is surprisingly sensitive, remembers what he learns, and responds well to patient, persistent training that utilizes food motivation.” Hmm…food for motivation…I definitely want to be a bulldog. GRIN!
Seriously though, I want to have the tenacity of a bulldog, don’t you? I want to remember all the things that God has taught me over the years. I want to be persistent and cling to the dreams that God has placed in my heart. I want to hold fast to the truth of God’s Word even when everyone around me loses their grip. II Timothy 3:14 says, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;” In other words, hang on to what you know! Be a bulldog!
In all honesty, I usually give up too easily. Over the long haul my excitement fades and my perseverance is not all that it should be. The ministry that started out as an exciting dream now just seems like work. I begin to doubt. I get discouraged. I start to lose my grip. I need to be reminded almost constantly that Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I want to have the resolve of a bulldog, but it does not come naturally for me. So, I have to ask the questions, “How does a bulldog hang on?” “How does he keep a tight hold when everything around him is saying to let go?” “Where does he get his strength?”
I’m beginning to understand that a bulldog can stay locked on to its target because he can still breathe. Our God’s name is YHWH. In the Hebrew language it is said that the pronunciation of YHWH is impossible. It is like the sound of a breath. He is our oxygen, our breath, and He is how we will be able to hang on. We can never hang on in our own strength. It’s always about Him, His Spirit in us.
Isaiah 42:5-12 says, “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Not only does this verse tell us that God gives us breath, but also that He is holding our hands while He is doing it. Think about when we go to the dentist and have an invasive procedure. Oftentimes, we are offered some sort of “laughing gas” to help us be calm. As youngsters, we often not only had the “gas”, but also a parent sitting with us holding our hand. We are God’s children and He is beside us not only providing our breath, but He is also holding our hand. We are never alone. He is with us, providing what we need every step of the way. That’s our precious YHWH.
In the book of Ezekiel we see another example of how God is our strength through His breath. Ezekiel is taken to a valley of dry bones and is told to prophecy to the Breath of God’s Spirit to come into the dead, dry bones and they will come to life. Ezekiel 37 tells us that is exactly what happened. Those brittle, weak, dry bones received new life, new strength and new perseverance through the breath of God’s Spirit. When they could breathe the breath of the Spirit again, they were able to hang on to their original task. They had the strength to continue. We are reminded that it’s never too late to become a bulldog!
So, the next time you see me struggling to hang on to a dream that God has placed inside of me remind me that Acts 17:25 tells me that God gives breath to all things. Remind me that any struggle God calls me to is worth it. Remind me that He will receive glory and remind me that I want to be a bulldog.
I’ll leave you with a link to a song that ties in so well. Enjoy!