Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. Isaiah 30:18
After our hamster died, my kids were desperate for another pet. My husband REALLY wanted a dog. It is an understatement to say I am NOT a dog person. I can barely keep up with housework as it is. By no means do I want to add dog slobber and shedding fur to all the other things in my life that need cleaning up. I knew I had to act quickly to derail the dog campaign.
As fate would have it, my niece had an Animal Adventures birthday party recently. There was a very cute rabbit there that was wonderful with the kids. When I found out it was up for adoption, I knew I had found my answer.
I spent the next week making frantic phone calls to Animal Adventures, and putting up pleas for a bunny cage and advice on Facebook. My friend Mary came through for me in a big way. Thanks to her, in a little over a week we were fully equipped and the proud owners of Oreo, a little black mutt and Netherland Dwarf mix.
So I took Mason into the bathroom with Oreo (the place I thought would be the safest to let a bunny roam free). I instructed Mason to sit “criss-cross, applesauce” on the floor, put his hands in his lap, and just be still. I told him he needed to let the rabbit explore him the way Oreo wanted to, not force anything, and not grab and hold Oreo. Mason needed to earn our bunny’s trust by letting Oreo call the shots. I joined Mason on the floor and observed.
I watched Oreo hesitantly draw near Mason, test the waters, retreat when Mason couldn’t resist reaching out, and then come back, intrigued. The more still Mason was, the more Oreo approached. Before I knew it, Oreo was sniffing Mason out, licking his hand, and putting his paws on Mason’s knee. The more Mason allowed Oreo to be in charge, the more Oreo trusted him.
But I know Mason. He loves deeply and passionately. He fell in love with Oreo the second we got him, and that love has grown with each passing second. Mason is also incredibly expressive and affectionate. He’s my “hugger for no reason” and never wants to let go. I knew it was killing him to be so passive. All he wanted to do was reach out, grab that furry bunny, and hold him tight, for forever!
That’s when it hit me: God loves like Mason, and we are Oreo. God is just itching to reach out, grab us, hold us tight, and never let us go. Like Isaiah 30:18 says, He longs to be gracious to us.
But God is an all knowing God. He knows a love earned by trust far outweighs a love created by force. In fact, that’s not love at all: that is subservience. Mason doesn’t want that from our bunny, and God certainly doesn’t want that from us. He wants a love that comes from us willingly, because we’ve reached a point where we realize our lives are enhanced a hundredfold when we have a relationship with Him.
God’s love is also deep and passionate. It is forgiving, unconditional, and all encompassing. When we finally realize this, and step into His open arms, He lavishes us with more grace than we could ever imagine. That’s when we wonder why we waited so long to take that step, to open ourselves up to the deepest love we could ever know.
Oreo is still testing the waters, forcing Mason to be patient. But I am sure that eventually, Oreo will willingly step into Mason’s open arms. And when he does, he too will experience a love greater than he has ever known.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I recognize that God is patiently waiting, letting me call the shots in our relationship?
* When I’ve trusted God enough to draw close, have I experienced Him lavishing me with the greatest love I have ever known?
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