Come Running

Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket.
— Nancy Spiegelberg

It's been an interesting two weeks in our house.

You see, we had planned to make it through the holidays and my brother's Nashville wedding first. We had planned to save a little money. We had planned to wait until Spring.

That's what we had planned.

But the void left by the loss of my husband's faithful Springer Spaniel in August (the second dog which we had to say goodbye to in a matter of only 18 months) was too great a hole to endure any longer. I combed every website of any and ever animal shelter, humane society and rescue in a 100 mile radius. I created a profile on which listed the specifics of what we were looking for in a dog. I received emails every time one popped up that possibly met our criteria. The first few we went to meet just didn't seem quite right. Too hyper. Too big. Too yippy. Too young (and not at all house-broken).

And then we found her: a six-month old, 99% house-broken, adorable and incredibly soft and cuddly Lab/Shepherd/Miniature Doberman mix (or so they think).

Originally rescued from unsuitable conditions in the south (Mississippi, to be exact) when she was just weeks old, the girl had already seen a lot in her short several months. We met her in an incredibly cramped shelter, filled with deafening barks (not from her) and way too much activity for such a small space. She tried to hide, looked at us with such fear in her eyes But she let the kids pet her and rested still in both my husband's and my arms when we picked her up.

And that was enough for me.

We brought her home that night, just ten days before Christmas. And she was terrified. Upon entering our house, she immediately found a corner and sat there, quivering with fear. She spent much of the next few days laying by our back door, tucked away from the hub-bub of our family of six.

We tried everything: squeaky toys, mouth-watering treats, soft voices and slow movements in her presence. And I just kept thinking: C'mon, pup. We just want to love you. your life will be so great; you just have to trust me. While I don't know all of the details surrounding her early weeks and months, I couldn't imagine they were great. After all, there's a reason they call these dogs "rescues". I couldn't really blame her for not throwing herself at us.

But our family of animal lovers was desperate to love her, to welcome her with open arms, empty laps and table scraps covertly passed under the table. If she only knew.

Sitting there one night across the kitchen floor, treat in hand and desperation on my face, I whispered, "Just trust me to love you." And that's when I heard His voice in my own.

Just trust me, Mel. I can and will meet your every need. I already love you with an unending, unconditional love and am just waiting for you to let me show you. Without me, you have nothing.

I sat there. Once again amazed at what He was showing me. Was my lack of trust in the love and provision of God really that much different than this pup and me?

Why the resistance to a God who just wants to love us?

The first six months of this dog's life had been filled with change and uncertainty -- with the exception of the last month in an amazing foster family's home, it was all she knew. And unfortunately, all we know here on earth is the human side of love. The kind that disappoints us, fails us, and doesn't live up to our expectations. 

But with our Heavenly Father it's different. And He tells us that:

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
— Jeremiah 31:3
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
— John 14:27

And this love is not dependent on anything we do and don't do. He gives it freely, no strings attached, not needing anything from us in return. But yet we find it difficult to accept this, don't we? Our minds have a difficult time wrapping around a love that doesn't fit into our human understanding.

He also tells us:

The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made...The eyes of all look to you [the Lord], and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
— Psalm 145, select verses

He's standing there. Waiting. Arms out-stretched, asking us to trust Him. And unlike any human relationship (or one with a four-legged friend), He will not disappoint. His love never fails.

So go. Run to Him with your bucket. And have faith that He will more than fill it.

Side note: "Savannah" is doing much better than that first night in our home. She's become quite the "family dog" and is one of the kindest, most docile creatures I have ever known. The trust-building is slow, but we're definitely making progress :)