Shoaf column: Puppy love
ěGod, show me your love.î
Thatís the way my day began on this summer morning. Usually they all start this way, with a simple prayer: Sometimes itís just, ěThank You God.î
But on this day, just before my feet touched the floor, I made this sincere requestóěGod, show me your loveîóand then I was up and starting my day.
Just recently a small addition to my morning routine had been added. About a month earlier, an unknown and unseen stranger drove up to our home mid-afternoon and dropped off a small puppy. She couldnít have been more than 5 or 6 weeks old. She was just a small bundle of fur and adorable energy, and my wife and I decided right away to keep her and give her a good home.
We named her Reese because her coloring resembled the Reeseís Peanut Butter Cup chocolates.
I fixed her breakfast and carried it out to the front porch where we made a bed for her, but rather than eating when I placed her food on the floor, she whined to be picked up and held, which I was happy to do.
As I held Reese close to my chin and nuzzled her soft fur, every possible way for her to show me her delight was going full speed and then some. She was wiggling, wagging her tail, whining, barking, licking, nibbling, scratchingóso much so that I laughed out loud. She was so happy that she literally could not contain herself. She just had to make full use of every ounce of her puppy-ness to make sure I was getting her happy message.
It was then that I got it: God was answering my prayer to him from when I was waking up just a bit earlier: ěGod, show me your love.î And his answer must have been, ěOkay, watch this.î
In Reeseís exuberant display of joy, I began to see that this was exactly what God was doing to show me his love. I carried Reese over to a chair, sat down, and marveled as I looked out across our front yard, across the meadow and into the woods. I let my eyes be filled with the complete creation of Godís full and running-over love. This message of love was clearly meant not only for me, but for his entire creation, from a blade of grass to a staróbecause all he made is being overwhelmingly blessed and nurtured and cherished and adored Ö by the abundant love of God.
Faster than Reese could wiggle, familiar thoughts quickly came.
From the hymn by Isaac Watts, ěJoy to World,î came ěAnd heaven and nature sing.î
The words of Isaiah, ěFor the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.î
From Revelation of the tree of life, which ěyielded her fruit Ö and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.î
Thereís also Mary Baker Eddyís statement, ěIt is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness.î
I felt aware as never before that God was putting all His wisdom and power and beauty and abundance and playfulness and goodness and devotion and activity and loveliness right smack in front of my eyes each and every moment, to show me how completely thrilled he is with me. It was like God was saying to me, ěChris, Iím so happy that I canít contain myself. My love for you is full and running overÖ.î
Just thinking back over this as I write is humbling. I started to wonder if I was even worthy of all this unbounded and unfathomable love, but then it was as if God completed his answer by saying, ěÖbecause youíre my precious child and it pleases me more than youíll ever know to give you everything I have, every way I can give it.î
And then I wondered, after seeing Godís generous display of love to me: did I show my love to God in the same way? With overflowing puppy-wiggle love?
Am I holding back?
Then a familiar quote from Jesusí Sermon on the Mount, the NPIV (New Puppy International Version) came to thought: ěIf God so wiggle the puppy shall He not much more wiggle you, O ye of little faith?î (see Matt. 6:30).
Of course! I have to show my love right back to God and to all His creation with the same exuberance as God shows His love to me, because as Godís image and likeness I reflect that too. Godís self-assertive, loving merriness causes me to know and show pure, over-flowing joy and bliss.
Chris Shoaf lives in Salisbury.
Chris Shoaf, CS
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