How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1).
It’s when we stop running from God that we experience the lasting hope and true the freedom that only He can give. My friend Erin came to understand the love of God in a fresh way through her encounter with a stray puppy that refused to be rescued.
GUEST BLOG: Erin Fede
I have a habit of rescuing lost or hurt animals that cross my path. There was a tiny baby turtle trying to cross a road, a baby bird fluttering around a busy parking lot, a baby squirrel, and four stray dogs. Each animal’s rescue was unique—according to its needs and best chance for survival.
But then there are the dogs that didn’t want to be rescued—I remember them as clearly as the ones who welcomed my care. One particular pup looked so bad I convinced my husband to go back out with me that night to search some more. And we found her! But the little fluff-ball, whose once-white fur was now grayish brown and full of mats, continued to run. Sometimes we’d get really close, gently speaking to her and offering her treats. But again, she ran.
We went back home that night empty handed. And as silly as it may sound, I sobbed. Why wouldn’t the dog just trust me? I assume she was afraid—and maybe she had good reason, depending on the environment from which she came. But as valid as her fear of me may have been, it was unnecessary. And it prevented her from experiencing love. From being warm, clean and sleeping with a full belly. Why was this stirring up such sadness inside me? What was it that compelled me to keep looking? Why did I call the shelters the next day trying to find her? I believe it’s because I, myself, have been rescued.
I was once that mangy dog, running from God when all He wanted to do was nourish my soul and give me the best life possible. But I didn’t want to be “contained,” I didn’t particularly appreciate authority and I most certainly wanted to do whatever I felt like doing, whenever I wanted to do it.
But that’s just me. Perhaps you ran (or are running) for a different reason. Perhaps you had a bad experience with “religion.” Maybe someone who claims to reflect the love of Christ lives in a way that is the exact opposite of loving, and therefore gives you a false perception of God’s character. Or maybe you just feel plain unworthy, unlovable or unforgivable. Regardless of your reason for running, don’t let it rob you from seeking the Truth… from running toward the most fulfilling relationship you could possibly experience: the unconditional love of your Creator.
God was relentless in pursuing my heart. He is endlessly patient, forgiving and loving. He captivated me with his kindness. By submitting to His authority, I actually became free and full of hope.
Freedom cannot be achieved by running from God any more than that dog could find freedom in roaming the streets. She chose to keep fighting for herself when someone exceedingly more capable wanted to fight for her.
God not only fought for us but, through Jesus, He won the battle for our eternity. He died to give us life, and was raised from the dead to give us HOPE. We are not unwanted, nor unforgivable. We were each uniquely created with a great purpose. And we are loved beyond anything our brains are capable of comprehending.
The love and hope I wanted to extend to that little dog didn’t disappear when she ran away. But the stray animals who trusted me got to receive all I had to give. If a broken human like me would go out of her way to help little creatures (even getting up at 3am for weeks to prepare a special formula and feed a baby squirrel), how much MORE love and care does our Father in Heaven want to lavish on US!! Anything good we do is just a tiny glimpse of the goodness of our gracious God.