Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dogs and God

Sometimes, animals come into shelters profoundly traumatized. They are victims of human mistreatment, or bad circumstances, or both. They have not been loved, or touched. Some animals used in labs have never been outside, or touched the grass. Fighting dogs have been pitted against each other, beaten, forced to rape or be raped, and rarely hear an unconditional word of love or acceptance. Mill animals are isolated, never interacted with and continuously bred...

So they come to the shelters--the abused, the ignored, the conditionally loved, the hurt. Dogs especially wear their emotions on their proverbial sleeves, their faces and bodies reflecting the fear they feel. Cats retreat into inaction or anger, or are over the top in their reactions, making them tough to handle.

Some, amazingly, come around quickly. They realize that their world has improved and the people in it care about them for who they are now. They respond with love, amazing their rescuers with the ability to love in spite of what has happened to them.

Others take longer. The wounds are deeper, or their intrinsic make up makes it harder for them to learn to trust humans again. They hold back, afraid that their world will revert to the darkness they had known for most of their lives.

It so reminds me of people, with their spiritual needs and wounds. We want to trust. We want to love, but we are afraid. We are afraid of the hurt that we could encounter by risking a connection. We are not trusting the intentions of those around us,. In spite of everything we know, we don't trust God and His love. We don't see God having our best in His plans, or see the love of the Cross. Our pain gets in the way.

When an animal at the shelter, after lots of unconditional attention, faithfulness to meeting needs, and just plain love, gets it, and you see the fear recede and the genuine character of the pet come forth, it always is rewarding.

It reminds this Christian of what happens to the soul that trusts and yields to God....

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