Taking Carl and Bee out for a walk can always be an adventure. Bee usually walks straight in front of me but Carl loves to swagger from side to side. He enjoys veering into yards to take a bite of dandelions or just sniff something that us humans would be repulsed by. No matter the path we choose, Carl turns it into a whimsical exploration of the world. Even though he is on a leash and is small in stature, he acts like he has the strength and attitude of Samson.
Growing up in Sunday school, I always heard the G rated version of this story that is found in Judges 13-16. I always thought of Samson as a righteous man with incredible strength and never truly understanding the circumstances behind his hair being cut off by a woman named Delilah. But after closer review, I discovered a lot more to the story than what lay on the surface.
At this time in history, the Israelites were being held in bondage by the Philistines, a cruel group of people that only wanted power over their enemy. God saw this happening and had a plan. So He sent an Angel down to Samson’s mother to tell her that she would have a son. The Angel told her that Samson should drink no wine and never cut his hair.
As Samson grew into a man, he realized that he had an incredible gift from God. But as we are all inclined to do, he began to use his gift for selfish gains. He then stopped listening to his parents and decided to do what he thought was right in his own eyes. You see, Samson had a weakness for beautiful women. It didn’t matter who the woman was, just as long as she was beautiful. So Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman and made her his wife.
His arrogant attitude got him in some big trouble with her brothers and other relatives and he finally left her. It wasn’t long after this romance that he met Delilah and fell deeply in love. With so many of the Philistines wanting to harm him, they knew that maybe he would tell Delilah where his strength came from. And you know what happens next. She woos him to sleep and has his hair cut off. When he awakes, he realizes his strength has left him.
The last years of Samson’s life were spent in a prison, blind from having his eyes plucked out and working as a grinder. I can’t imagine what he must have felt at this time. Did he have the “Why me?” attitude or did he realize that he had misused the gifts that God had given him and become truly sorry for his selfishness?
Samson is not much different from any of us. As I was walking Carl this morning and looking around me, I couldn’t help but feel blessed for the many gifts God has lavished upon me. I had to ask myself if I am using the gifts for selfish gain or for His glory. And when life is not working out the way I think it should, am I blaming God or realizing that my selfish actions could have led me to this point in life?
Either way, the amazing part of this story is that God is in control and his plan will override all of our sins. Just when you think that Samson can’t be used to overthrow the Philistines, God sets the stage for something only He can do.
The Philistines have a huge party in the temple and bring Samson out of prison to be their entertainment. Everyone is laughing at this blind man stumble around in his own darkness not knowing that maybe he had regained his strength. So Samson comes to his senses in his last minutes of life and calls out to God to give him the strength needed to push down the pillars that are holding up the temple.
And sure enough, the pillars are pushed away and the temple falls killing over three thousand Philistines. And once again, God’s plan goes forth in spite of our sin.
Carl and Bee come to the end of our walk and I take off their leashes and walk inside. The dogs lay down on the hardwood floor and rest their bodies for the next adventure. Without fail, a pungent smell fills my nostrils that can only come from this little dog with no tail. And all I can do is smile and thank God for his gifts, even the smelly ones.