I recently purchased a new camera. As I was playing around with it, snapping pictures here and there, I snapped a picture of our dog Chester.
As I looked at the picture, my first thought was, “Wow, I captured his personality perfectly.”
You see, others looking at the picture wouldn’t necessarily notice what I perceive because they don’t know him the way I do.
They wouldn’t know that he loves to eat plastic and lie on our bed. He howls when he’s scared and always invites all sixty pounds of himself to sit on our laps. They wouldn’t know that he cries when we leave and loves to steal his sister’s toys. If you don’t watch him, he will eat your food, dig through your garbage, and chase the neighborhood cat.
Yet, when I see him, I see his unconditional love for us because, although he’s a dog, I believe he knows where he came from and who rescued him.
We call him our “clearance puppy” because after 30 days at the local animal shelter no one wanted him and they dropped his adoption fee to a whopping $15. He was a shy, timid, scared little soul hiding in the back of his crate.
After much thought one Saturday afternoon, we adopted him on a wish and a prayer that with a lot of love and a good meal, we could break through his timid shell. We hoped there would be a dog inside that would love warm hugs and a good juicy bone.
There are some that feel like Chester did those days at the shelter. They are in hiding, spiritually speaking, and they feel alone, unwanted, and unworthy of love. They are waiting for someone or something to love them, to want them, and to make them feel worthy. They are longing for someone or something to let them out of their hiding place.
We have a loving Father, a heavenly Father, that is pacing the halls of our sheltered lives searching for hearts to respond to His love, a lavish love that fills every space of our broken souls more completely than anyone or anything else can fill.
He offers us love that that is unwavering. No matter how many times we dig that hole, or steal that toy, He will treasure us just the same.
Although I am blessed by the love, tenderness, and loyalty of what many refer to as “man’s best friend”, it will never compare to the love our God wants to lavish on us every day.
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word”
Psalm 119: 114 (ESV)
Not too many years ago I sat brokenhearted hiding inside the shell of a wounded heart. Today I stand rescued by the lavish love poured out on a cross two thousand years ago, and I cannot help but respond back to my rescuer and redeemer with love, adoration, and loyalty. What I can muster up to give back will never compare to what was freely given to me.
You see, I know where I came from and I know who rescued me, and I will never leave His side because I was created to be loved by Him and to receive love from Him.
Just like I know Chester in ways that others don’t. God knows you in ways no one else will ever be able to because He created you. He sees your unique personality, your strengths, weaknesses, giftings, and struggles. He knows all your stories, and He loves you all the same.
Be reminded and encouraged today that no matter where you are on your journey of life, the safest place for you to hide is In Him, and the safest place for you to place your hope, is in His Word.