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The Adopted Stray

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Is. 43:1

There seem to be a disproportionate number of stray dogs in our neighborhood. Two weeks ago I encountered this precious tiny brown and white puppy, on one of the coldest days this month, rummaging through our yard and then into our neighbors front yard. I went out to get the tiny, shivering dog who was clearly looking for food, only to embark on a chase. Though the dog was hungry and cold, it was afraid of me. After following it helplessly through back yards and to an alley, I finally gave up since I couldn’t help the dog if he didn’t want to be helped.

This was my view of God’s care and pursuit of us for so long. He has food and shelter for us, healing and blessings, but we have to be willing to be helped. UGH! I am so glad God’s omnipotence isn’t limited by my ignorance, stubborn will, defiance or even obedience. Unlike my own half-hearted pursuit of the stray dog, God is not so emotionally needy or weak willed that He would turn away from His pursuit in response to the one He pursues.

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:16

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:44

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. John 6:39

This is comforting to me, particularly since I know how strong my tendency to behave like a stray dog is. My default mode really is that of an old curmudgeon. As awful as that stance toward others is, it is just easier sometimes to snarl or run away than to love and be loved. Yet because I belong to Him, the security of His commitment to me is not threatened by my frequent falls from grace to self-reliance, from hiding myself in His righteousness alone to trying irritably to be righteous by my self, from loving others as generously as He loves me to demanding that others serve my ego and comforts, or from desiring to be made more in His image to forcing Him into an image of me.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39

Would my soul find peace and even rest in this larger than I can grasp reality and even believe and trust that it extends to others as well.

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