Love that Hurts

Carl is unusually calm this morning. Instead of the little dog that is constantly jumping up to get my attention, he has been subdued and lethargic. Yesterday, after a walk on the trail, Carl’s head began to swell on one side. Not knowing what caused the swelling, we searched the internet for suggestions. We really couldn’t find a cause to this strange condition so we were waiting for Monday morning when the veterinarian’s office opens.  Now that we have made an appointment for him to be seen this afternoon we can only hope that it is soon enough.  Carl has retreated to his crate where he has been sleeping since yesterday afternoon. We are extremely concerned and feel off balanced by his passive behavior. Now don’t get me wrong. I love Carl when he is jumping up and being obnoxious but my heart actually warms up towards him when he is quiet and peaceful.

If my heart warms up towards Carl when he is calm and obedient, it makes me wonder when God’s heart warms up towards me…  Given the Bible is a love story that He wrote to each one of us, I know that I can find the answer in his word. The Bible records that at the very beginning when God created Adam, He demonstrated his love by giving him a soul mate. And even when both Adam and Eve sinned, it was not God who retreated from this relationship, but man. Later when humanity was so soaked in sin that God had to start over with the flood, He patiently waited a hundred years while Noah finished building the ark before destroying every living creature.  I am sure this entire time, He must have been hoping that others would repent and return to him. But they didn’t.

As the centuries passed, God continued to demonstrate his unconditional love for his chosen people even when they lacked faith and turned to other idols. Time and time again, God made covenants with man, only to see them broken. All the time knowing that He would have to pay the ultimate price for our sin.

And then it happened. God became man and walked the earth for three decades, knowing all this time that He was born for only one purpose: the cross. And as he took on all the ugliness of my sin and yours, He stood with outstretched arms loving us through his suffering. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be beaten to the point of death and then to stretch out my arms to have nails hammered into them. The suffering must have been unbearable but He endured it.  Why? I can only come up with one answer. Love. All encompassing, inexpressible devotion to all mankind. The kind that you can actually feel in the core of your heart that radiates throughout your entire being.

I don’t like this state of not knowing if Carl will be okay or not, but ironically, it helps me to meditate on the cross and actually come one step nearer to the foot of where my Lord suffered and died for me.

While writing this, Carl has been looking up at me with such a pitiful look and all I can do is pet his silky coat and tell him that I love him back. To make it all even more surreal, today happens to be National Love Your Pet Day. And that is exactly what I plan on doing.



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