“He was rescued from a shelter,” we proudly respond. Our normal comment about this beloved, furry creature who has stolen our hearts. Chip’s fluffy, waggling tail and smiling brown eyes welcome passersby as we take our exercise to the neighborhood streets. His caramel coat and white facial mask accentuate the sparkling eyes that invite, “Come play with me, stroke my fur, see how gentle I am.” He sits politely, in anticipation.
However, it wasn’t always that way. That first month after we had adopted the rascal, I revisited our initial decision numerous times. The serene demeanor we had seen at the shelter was jarred by his independent streak that tore through our home each evening. Lamps teetered as he skipped over cords behind sofas. Stuffed animals were snatched as trophies from our children’s beds. Country decor bore the imprint of his teeth.
I called the shelter at least four times. How does one go about returning a dog? An alpha dog! There was a price to pay for that! Or we could hire a trainer, they suggested.
More money, either way. We’d try the trainer. With leash in hand, the wise handler walked Chip outside. Eager to explore, our puppy strained to romp down the road ahead of the trainer. A sharp, “Heel”, and a quick tug on the leash. Chip was whirling in the opposite direction under his trainer’s authority. Two more times and Chip was attending. He sat when the trainer stopped.
Like Chip, I’ve been rescued, too. Our Heavenly Father gazed lovingly upon this creation of His. More than a rascal. Deceit, pride, independence, rebellion. Sin, in all its forms, darkened my heart. But He adopted me just the way I was! Like we adopted Chip.
Our Father had already paid the price. The blood of his Son, Jesus flowed over me and washes away my sin. The Holy Spirit was hired to be my trainer.
The bit and bridle have been placed upon me (Psalm 32: 9 NIV) with love, more times than I’d like to count. I’m still in process. Fortunately, our Father, unlike me, never desires to return me–or any of us–to the life we once led. With open hands, He reaches out to forgive me, pick me up, and give me the grace to be transformed into His likeness.
Hopefully, those passersby who see me will recognize the Father’s imprint. Love, gentleness, kindness, peace, joy, and self-control. And when they ask where or how, I’ll say,
“I’ve been rescued.”
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Col. 1:13 NIV
I loved this. Thanks.
Having rescued two animals from shelters, both cats, I can’t say how many times we have been rewarded by their affection & companionship. Last night at worship we sang a Tommy Walker song about remembering the works of God’s hands. I wonder how many times God has longed for my affection and companionship, times when I’ve just been “too busy”! (Loved your post.)
This is such a powerful, such a beautiful post Janis. My heart aches tonight, after returning our little Bonnie to the shelter after 2 weeks with us.
She was destroying everything, right down to the flooring (of our rented home). My husband has been teary all day, as he read up on shelter puppies and discovered they do this out of anxiety for being surrendered in the first place. They are nervous and anxious. We would have loved to persevere with her, and we would have if it was our own home.
I loved, loved, loved how you took this scenario into the Kingdom realm. I am glad that God has rock solid commitment to us, more than we are capable of at times.
I am so glad your doggy has been blessed to live with you…
I have rescued cats ~ with some severe separation anxiety problems! lol I often think how like us they are in their desperation to know they are accepted & loved no matter what ~ & no, no~one here is sending them back to the shelter.