Unconditional Love

It’s a warm sunny afternoon with a slight breeze.  But when a dog spends an hour chasing other dogs at full speed at the dog park, she ends up winded and worn out.

Once my dog has scraped herself up off the cool garage floor, I encourage her to come to the basement with me.  She doesn’t realize that the cold concrete floor in the laundry room would be a soothing balm to her fast beating heart and worn out body.  I try to tell her, but she doesn’t listen.  She just wants to be where I am.  Wherever that is.

Since I’m with her all day every day lately, she has grown very attached to me.  Everywhere I go in the house, she is glued to my leg.  She leans on me for no reason.  She wants me to play with her in the evening.  When she thinks it’s time to go to the dog park, she looks at me with that excited look.  Waiting for me to say the word.  Dog park!

She enjoys her treats and rewards.  Sometimes she gets more than she deserves.  Other times, she begs for a treat for no apparent reason.  She sure knows how to wrap herself around my little finger.

She loves getting hugs and attention.  Sitting on the floor with her head in my lap as I pet her is heaven for her.  But there are times when I want to hold her close and love on her, and she sticks out her leg to keep me away.  She won’t allow me to pull her close.  She holds me at arms length.   She will push away from me, so I can’t hug her.  Oh.  She wants me to keep petting her, but she doesn’t want any hugs.

There are times I want her to experience new sights and smells.  She loves that.  I enjoy rewarding her.  I even asked someone to train her to be a better dog.  I wanted her to learn from the best how to be a great dog.


See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!  1 John 3:1


I think of my Master.  He loves me unconditionally.  In fact, it doesn’t matter what I do.  He’ll still love me.  Oh.  There are times he’ll discipline me.  He’ll chastise me.  But I know he loves me still.

I find the more time I spend with my Master, the more time I want to spend with Him.  I lean on him for guidance.  I cozy up to him when I need comfort.  I ask for his peace when I face uncertain times.  Oh.  There are times when we don’t see eye to eye.  I ask for favors when I don’t deserve them.  I ask God to answer prayers that may be selfish or foolish.  I still have a lot to learn in my relationship with God.

There are times he wants to hold me close.  Wrapped in his arms of safety and security.  But I push him away.  Oh.  I want him nearby, but I don’t want his hugs.  I want to be close enough I can call if I need him, but not so close that I am engulfed in his presence.  Why is that?  Why do I seek independence?  Why do I hold him at arm’s length?  Why don’t I surrender fully to him?

The thing is.  He knew me before I was even born.  He knows the number of hairs on my head.  He knows my thoughts even if I don’t speak.  He sees everything I do.  He hears every word I say.  He knows my intentions.  He knows the number of days I will live.  He has the best plans laid out for me.  I am his.

 

 

Disappointed Again

This person abruptly changed their plans.  Again.  They’re known to do that.  It’s always devastating when it happens.  What I thought would be a peaceful and relaxing afternoon became filled with angst and caution.  I was no longer free to pursue my agenda.  I had to follow theirs.  It would be a long afternoon.

Needless to say, disappointment sat in.  Big time.  Once again, they changed their plans. They didn’t realize that their initial plans fit perfectly into mine.  The change in plans was so disappointing.  I couldn’t even begin to tell them.

I think of the times I’ve disappointed others.  I didn’t attend an event she had planned.  I didn’t eat the food she had prepared.  I couldn’t say the words they wanted to hear.  I said words they never expected to hear me say.  I wasn’t the friend she needed me to be.  I didn’t buy the product they were selling.  I didn’t laugh at the joke.  I laughed when I shouldn’t have.  The list is much longer.  Longer than I care to admit.

I have been disappointed with God.  Yes, I have.  At times when I had asked for specific help, I was let down.  Help that only God could give.  When everything I prayed for happened opposite of how I had prayed.  Why didn’t God come through when I needed him the most?  Why didn’t he protect me from the hardships that kept piling on top of each other?  Where was he?  Couldn’t he see that I was doing my best?  Was this a test?  Would I still trust him when the hardships had ended?  Would the hardships end?


So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18


I consider all the things God has done for me.

He asked his only son to die on a cross for me. He suffered.  A lot.  He paid a huge price for my sins.

When I asked God to forgive my sins, he did it.  He knew my sins before they happened and he still forgave me.  When he saw I was sorry for my sins, he forgave me without a second thought.  The best part is that he forgot about those sins.  It’s as if I had never sinned.  That’s how great God is.

God has provided for all my needs.  I have a home.  A job.  Plenty of food.  Good health.  Loving husband.  Great friends.  Wonderful family.  There’s nothing I need.

I have made it through those hardships.  God provided strength to get through them.  He showed mercy when I needed it most.

God has created beauty in this world.  Nature.  Seasons.  Galaxies.  Animals.  Architecture.  Music.  Art.  Books.

God is preparing a place for me to live with him.  He’s getting it ready for me.  I’ve read that it’s out of this world.  So full of beauty.  And some of my loved ones are already there.

How can I be disappointed in a God who did all that for me?  How can I be disappointed in a God how loves me deeply no matter what I do?  How can I be disappointed in a God who is so patient with me?

I remember an old hymn that speaks to my soul.

Christ Is Not A Disappointment
I have found no satisfaction in the fleeting joys of earth 
I had hewn me broken cisterns that had mocked me by their dearth 
All the springs my soul had tested failed to meet my deepest need 
Christ, alone, has met my longing, He has satisfied indeed! 

Chorus 
Christ is not a disappointment! Every longing in my breast 
Finds, in Him, complete fulfillment, He has brought me into rest 
I have tested Him, and proved Him more than all I dreamed He’d be 
Christ is not a disappointment, He is all in all to me! 

I was tempted not to trust Him for so many things had failed 
But so patiently He waited and His tenderness prevailed 
So, I swung my heart’s door open, and His promises I tried 
Christ is not a disappointment, He has fully satisfied! 

I had tried the world for pleasure, but it could not satisfy. 
Though it promised much, it failed me. All its wells and springs were dry… 
Everything I tried was empty, and I thought my life was vain, 
Then, He came and tuned my heartstrings, 
And I learned to sing again. 

Others will fail me.  I will fail others.  Hardships will come.  Hardships will go.  The sun will rise on a tough day.  The sun will set on a beautiful day.  Through the ups and downs of life, I have found it to be true.  Christ is not a disappointment.