I finally met our ‘Midnight Garbage Inspector’ on our front yard a week later. It was a rainy September evening. He had arrived earlier than usual, probably to find shelter from the rain or to satisfy his hunger pangs, I couldn’t tell by the look on his face. But I could tell by the tail between his legs that he was afraid, maybe because he knew his game was up. He always left too much evidence. He must have realized that he should have cleaned up after his crimes. I must confess that when I first saw him I thought, “This dog is too cute to be a stray.” He had those sad eyes. He looked thin and weak. Apparently our leftovers were not doing it for him.
I had no intention of reprimanding him for his felonies but instead I offered him some bread, not leftovers, a whole untouched slice of soft bread. He was hesitant at first and kept cowering into the darkness while I stood afar under the porch light. I didn’t want to scare him away and I wasn’t going to force him to eat the bread. All I knew was that I had food that could satisfy and strengthen him. I wasn’t going to give up on him and let him pass up this opportunity because he was too scared. I wanted to win his trust. I wanted to help him.
God also stands in the light and offers us true satisfaction and eternal sustenance. There are those of us that cower and hide from the light. We are comfortable in our darkness and distance from God. We know He exists, it is evident to us and we know we need help but we don’t dare go close to Him. We fear that all that awaits us is punishment. Fear and distrust keep us away from Him. We also don’t understand Him, we are wary of His motives. We think He has an agenda to further His own cause and that it will have no room for our freedom and joy. Let us follow this train of thought about God’s motives. Let us try and understand why God calls out to us and why He wants us to come to Him.
If you are a rational individual with an ounce of kindness in your heart, your feelings for this dog I mentioned earlier would be similar or more sympathetic than mine. You would want to help him and offer him food. What would you expect in return from this stray dog? Would his ‘house-guarding’ services be a fair payment for your kindness? What about his newspaper retrieval services? Maybe the dog could strut his cuteness, perform tricks and impress your friends when they come over. How ridiculous to think this way! Of course it is ridiculous to expect a return on ‘kindness investment’ from a dog. But, you would agree with me that it is even more preposterous to question your motives for showing kindness to this dog, as if you expect something in return for your act of love.
Why then do we hold God to this standard? Why do we question His motives when He holds out His hand to save us? Why do we question His act of love? Why do cower in the darkness when He reaches out to us? This is not to say that we may never have to make sacrifices or that we don’t have to do anything for God. We do. We do it out of love. God calls us to enter into a relationship of love with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16
Another interesting thing happened that night as I was holding out bread for the dog. The dog kept running back to see if the garbage bin was still there, even as I was standing in front of him with the food. Just like that, we seem to think we can satisfy ourselves and turn away to find satisfaction and fulfillment through other means. We do this because we still don’t trust Him enough to go to Him for ALL our satisfaction and sustenance.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Yes, He loves you today and is holding out His hand. Are you planning to run away or walk towards LOVE Himself?
© Thomas Jacob, 2014