Why God? Why does He, the creator of all that is, love and desire a relationship with you—with me? It seems incomprehensible, doesn’t it, for we are all such great sinners and God is so pure and good. Well, let me tell you a story.
He arrived late at night, December 28th. My son had brought him down from Salem, and it was traumatic for the little, almost fourteen pound guy. He hadn’t traveled in a car before, and being thoroughly scared, had thoroughly wet himself. First thing of order, thoroughly bathe him! Then I began to smoother him with love and attention.
It took him three days before he barked (and yes, many a time I wish we could go back to those no bark days), and he was afraid to go outside without me. For months I walked him in early morning freezes or late at night darkness trying to encourage him to use the great outdoors. I stuck to the formula—take him out after every nap, when he got up in the morning, and before he went to bed. Still, it took me a year and a half to teach this little guy to ring a bell to let me know when he had to go out and constant cleaning up the rug and floor meanwhile!
He had a regal look about him, so after studying a good number of names, we tagged him with Sir Bentley Winston Thomas. Now Bentley was shy of people but snoopy and adventurous when it came to the world. During the first two weeks we had him, he managed to squeeze his way through a four inch square of fencing at ten o’clock one night. He had wandered through brush up a hill on our property, and I was in my pajamas with a flashlight. There he went, trotting down the neighbors’ driveway. Now, I couldn’t climb that fence, so I called and cajoled him with sweet talk, and finally he came back, and I somehow managed to squeeze him back through that fencing. Four hundred dollars later, we had added another layer of fencing around our one acre of property to keep him from getting out--keeping him safe.
Bentley was not meant for our country property. He has long hair that continually gets matted no matter how much I brush him, and he gets tree sap stuck to his skin in multiple places. Recently, he got a foxtail stuck in his paw, and three visits to the vet and almost another four hundred dollars later, he was on the mend. I was told I could buy little boots for him to keep this from happening again (I pictured Bentley never walking again and my having to carry him everywhere), and of course I was told when the vet checked him out that he would need a tooth pulled and teeth cleaned—that I should start saving up another six hundred to one thousand dollars for that procedure. OH, BOTHER!
When I ask Bentley if he wants to go for a walk, he runs and hides. When I head for the leash, he runs and hides. When I ask if he wants to go for a car ride, he runs and hides. Still, I seek him, and still I take him for walks and car rides because, in the one case, I want him to be healthy, and in the other, I want him with me. All in all, I do everything I can for him because of love. Yes, in spite of wanting to pull my hair out from time to time, I really love my little guy.
Now what does all this have to do with God? On a billion times more than an electron microscopic level, so very, very much! Although seemingly ridiculous, let’s compare what we do for our pets to what God has done and continues to do for us—our God, the Almighty King of the universe--the One who pursues us when we try to run and hide because He wants us with Him.
We might ask ourselves, "Why would God pursue me? Why would He desire a relationship with me—one who because of sin sometimes sees herself as lower than a pregnant ant, as the saying goes?" Yet, that is not how God sees me or how He sees you. He studies us from His throne and sees us as His beloved people—people who need to be rescued, just like some of our pets, and knowing that we many times do not understand what is good for us or what will keep us safe, He continues His pursuit because of who He is--LOVE.
There we are, mangy and matted due to sin, and just like Adam and Eve who rebelled against God by stepping outside the boundaries He had given them, He watches us many times do the same. An example: He tells us in His Word, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 Based on this Scripture, let’s each ask ourselves simple questions, such as “ What kinds of books am I reading, movies am I watching, and what kind of music am I listening to? Is there soft porn (sex scenes) and/or foul language in them? Is God honored or dismayed by what I am doing and putting into my mind? Is there any other way I am stuck in the sap of this world? Am I cheating, perhaps on a test, on taxes, or on my spouse? Do I tell lies, whether little or great? Do I suffer from an addiction such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling? Do I promote the practice of homosexuality or other related behaviors--those that our culture is constantly pushing through media?”
These are all good questions to ask ourselves, but we must know that no matter what we may be doing or have been involved in, God still loves us! He “. . . showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 All it takes on our part for God to bathe us, to wash away the dirt and remove the mats affecting us, is to confess our sin and accept Jesus as our Savior. Then, as the Holy Spirit immediately enters us, He gives us the strength and desire needed to begin cleaning up our act as we live willingly within the boundaries God has set for us--those rules designed, as was Bentley’s fencing, to keep us safe. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13
GOD IS LOVE, and His love is so great that it overpowers all else! Not only did He pour out His love by sacrificing His Son, Jesus, to save us as He desires no man to perish, but He loves us so much that He continues to pursue us each and every time we step outside His boundaries. He then rejoices when we return to Him, as illustrated by the Prodigal Son: “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.’” Luke 15:20-22
Dogs—they come in many varieties and types! They may arrive flea bitten, mangy, unvaccinated, and malnutritioned, or perhaps they are pampered and groomed. Some look prim and proper, having registered papers, while others—well, we just have to shake our heads, asking, “Is that really a dog?” Yet each of us who have adopted dogs into our families dote on them. We treat them for fleas, give them food, water, shelter, and naturally, treats, all to keep them clean, well-nourished, and healthy.
God does so much more for us! He does not superficially bathe us on the outside, perfecting our outer shells, but desiring our inner transformation, He cleanses us from the inside out by nourishing us with His living Word. He provides us with food, water, and shelter, and treats us by lovingly hearing and answering our every prayer, not always in the way we would ask, but in the way that is best.
Most of all, God treats us for those pesky fleas, those sins we commit, by forgiving them when we but ask, then leads us on His path of righteousness straight into heaven: “ If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 Salvation through the sacrifice of His only Son—now that’s doting on us!
So why God, and why me? No, none of us deserve God’s love and care, but He truly values each and every one of His creations and continually pours His love upon us, seeking our salvation and a mutual love relationship. Did God consider the cost of this? If He did, He thought us worth it because Jesus’ gift of His life paying the ransom for our sins is priceless. I guess that is what love is--freely giving your all: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 and “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9
A great question, therefore, lies before each of us that we must answer: “Will I turn on my Master, as a dog may his, and in stubbornness viciously bite, being unwilling to accept His love and sacrifice; or will I, in obedience and response to my Master’s incomprehensible love, live in obedience to Him because I love Him in return and know He has my eternal welfare in mind?” Choices—our eternal future is based on this all important one. My prayer is that each of you will run to the safety and shelter of your loving Father.
I John 1:7 “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
Psalm 23:6 “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
Ezekiel 34:11 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep.”
Micah 7:18 “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because You delight in showing unfailing love.”
Romans 7:18-20 “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it."
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You with all my heart for loving me during my mongrel state, that is before I accepted You as my Savior; and after, when, like Paul, I desire to do what is good, but I don’t, and when don’t want to do what is wrong, I do!” Still, You are faithful to forgive my every sin and provide for my every need. You are filled with love, compassion, and mercy, and You never tire of forgiving. Thank You for Your perfect plan of salvation and Your steadfast love for me and every person You’ve created. We often say to one another, “You are the best,” but truly, Father, YOU ARE THE ONE AND ONLY GOD AND THE VERY, VERY BEST!! Amen.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.