For those of you who may not know, Chantal and I recently adopted a puppy. She is a beautiful corgi-beagle mix, although we think she may have some Rottweiler in her because of her color scheme. Her name is Zoila, Zoi for short, and she is a loving and energetic little pup.
For those of you who have ever had pets you understand the hours and dedication that must be put in initially while the puppy is still young. Potty training, house training, basic commands like sit, down, stay, leave it, come, are essential in the early stages of a pups life.
Throughout this week, as we have cared for Zoi, I have seen a new picture of God. One of them, is His patience with us despite how hard headed and mean towards Him we can be. I see this because Zoi is very energetic and loves playing, especially biting. And we are trying really hard to keep her from biting objects and things that we do not want her to bite, such as our hands, feet, couch and rugs. She's doing fairly well, for her first week with us. But there are times when her mouth and teeth turn to my fingers, and it’s frustrating. That’s because she is turning on the very one who loves her so much and wants to give her the best. So we play with her toys and I reward her for her good behavior. But suddenly she’ll turn into this ferocious tyrannosaurus rex (exaggeration added) and bite me all over, growling and jumping on me. And i admit, it takes everything in me to not overreact and push, or hit, or shout at her. I know that if I am to hit her I will reinforce a negative behavior and can cause her to either fear me or attack me more. So I attempt to walk in the steps of Jesus, in gentleness and love, turning the right check when my left is bite, but it’s so hard.
It’s hard because I know what I mean to her, even though she doesn’t. It’s tough to not overreact when the one you love so much is turning on you. It’s hard to not be hurt when someone you care for unceasingly, every waking-moment of the day, turns on you and looks on you in fear or hostility.
All this has shown me how I tend to be with God. When everything is well, God and I are cool. But whenever something goes wrong, I become one who turns on God and attacks Him for allowing bad things to happen. Even though, like Zoi, I don’t understand everything that God is doing and even though I may not see or realize His love and grace in the particular moment that I am in. It’s so counterproductive to bite the hand that feeds you, as my puppy does.
In any human relationship, anyone would get fed up and walk away, but not God. He roles with the punches and attacks that we give Him and always comes back with more love and grace. If anyone has the legit right to get upset and fight back its God, and He doesn’t do it. Instead, He gives us our daily breath, works with us through our imperfections, and softly responds to our attacks.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us that, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
And even when we were fighting against Him and far from Him, Paul tells us in Romans 5:8, that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
So I am encouraged in my training with Zoi, to act in a loving way towards her at all times, because God does that with me every single day. I hope that you can also act kindly and gracefully towards others, in the same way that God acts towards you.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.