Monday, November 14, 2011
How much more can God love us than He already does? Yes, He loves us unconditionally and forever so there doesn’t seem to be room for more. But do we realize how much that really is? Maybe not...
Let’s consider the love of Elke. Elke is a beautiful piece of white fluff who dearly loves her master and mistress. It has been a great pleasure to love them myself, even though I have never met them in person. They are part of a family I love deeply and so God has encouraged me to love Elke’s family just as much. Now one of Elke’s family is gone. There is a great hole in many hearts and healing is underway knowing that he has gone on to our beloved Savior to be in peace and joy for ever and ever after many years of pain. He was Elke’s master. Elke hurts, too. But her only hope is that he will return someday to be with her again. (hmm...that sounds familiar.)
Meanwhile, Elke still has her mistress and the rest of the pack (family and friends) so she is adjusting to life without him. She is very aware that there is pain in her human family. She is aware that she misses something important herself. So what does she do? She sits on laps.
As a dog, she knows that comfort and safety come from being together. The pack lives by that code. They sense their way along... sensing danger, sensing possible food sources, sensing water, bad weather, a need to move on, a place to go. They also sense human emotions. That is at the center of the great friendship they have with man. And it is certainly the reason they make such wonderful “helpers” for humans with problems.
As I wonder at the sensitivity of dogs, I cannot help but wonder even more at the sensitivity of God. If Elke has the good sense to seek out her mistress and be close when they are feeling the loss of the one they both love, how much more does God sense our need for comfort and a renewal in our hearts of the truth of His enduring love for us. How much more does He realize that He needs to draw us close as we cry out to Him.
So here’s what I’m thinking: God can only love us as much as we let him. Elke can comfort her mistress and the rest of the pack only if they let her get close to them. And God can hug us and hold us tight only if we let Him get close to us. Holding our heads up with our “back off” hand out, just leaves us lonely and hurting. And that often leads to pushing God away altogether because we blame Him for the pain we are feeling. If we do not cry out to Him, we miss the great opportunity to be comforted and refortified by Him. We must cry out. God will hear the music of that cry and will answer it forthwith.
Why constraint? Constraint is restriction… Repression of natural feelings or behavior. We have God given emotions and some of those, as with grief, cause us to cry. That is natural. God even promises us that Jesus will be there to “catch” our tears. If we do not grieve, if we do not cry, He cannot catch our tears or comfort us as He has promised. “Blessed are those who morn, for they will be comforted.” This verse from Matthew refers to a specific need today that will change our tomorrows.
But it is also very clear in scripture that God desires to comfort us. This is because He knows we will need it as we continue in this life. Do not be constrained, pretending that the hurts do not exist. Choose joy, growing in the fruit of the Spirit, but let God bring that joy through acknowledging the pain and being comforted by Him, as He desires. Joy to the world!