Saturday I came home to discover my grand kids washing their dog in my ice chest. Poor thing. After all, it is wintertime and even in the south, it's too cold to run the water hose and wash a dog. Sadly, this creature was in desperate need of attention, so he wasn't complaining one bit. As you can see in the photo, he's a white longed-hair dog that winter is not kind to. He becomes a collection of everything sticky and muddy and was also in desperate need of a trip to the doggie beauty shop. In fact, according to many folks on our street, it bordered animal cruelty to NOT take him in. Finally, my son-in-law gave in and took him for some much needed grooming.
Like most of us after a trip to the beauty shop, he returned a new man. His hair was short, he smelled good, and he walked with a strut. Hence the kids were now proud to play with this clean-smelling, clean-shaven pet instead of shunning him like Sunday's left-overs. In reality, nothing really changed about the dog except his outside appearance. He was still the lovable dog he always was, who longed for a pat on the head every now and then.
What had changed was how we looked at him. Aren't you glad you serve a God who loves you in spite of the way you look? If the winter months haven't so kind to you either, God doesn't care. And I'm not really talking about the dry skin or the fly-away hair that winter brings. I'm talking about some behaviors that you might have put on that aren't too flattering on you right now. The good news is God sees past the mistakes you've made and right to your heart. God knows all of your hurts and hang-ups and loves you anyway. My grand kids waited for the dog to get clean before they were willing to clean him themselves. But God doesn't do that to us, He loves us just as we are. He continually cleans us with the blood of Jesus Christ.
I love how Romans 8:31 reads in The Message, "Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
Wow! How's that for some comforting words. While a dog might find himself in poor favor with the family, there is absolutely nothing you can do to drive God's love away from you.
Just dwell on that today and you'll have a better day!