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Friday, April 27, 2007

Intimacy with Christ

I should’ve named my tiny Yorkshire Terrier “Enigma” instead of “Zoe” because her quirkiness could stump the best dog whisperer.

For example, she loves to sit on laps, so whoever is planted comfortably is the momentary apple of her little eye, and she begs to sit with the sitter. The problem is, she cannot jump high enough to get to us. We have to lean and scoop her up. Oddly, she then darts away, looking over her shoulder as if to say, “What are you trying to do, imprison me? Why are you so possessive?” She repeats this approach and retreat until she is far from the sofa, causing us to forfeit prime couch potato time by getting up and carrying her back to our laps, thus creating a whole new frustrating version of “fetch.”

We’ve analyzed her bizarre routine, wondering if she is …

• afraid of being lifted to 2-ft heights
• playing a screwy game of chase
• a control freak
• communicating, like Lassie, that Old Man Hanson is trapped in a burning shed which toppled onto a railroad track and is now in the path of a locomotive and we must go save him

Exasperated, I announced one day, “I wish I could become a dog and learn what is in that head of hers. I’d be able to tell her to stop this madness and convince her to trust us.” My family nodded in agreement, but I saw my son furtively dialing Dr. Phil and my daughter tracing “!PLEH” on the foggy window.

Allow me a very rough parallel here—do you suppose this scenario is similar to how we often respond to the Father? In other words, do we “play” at knowing him, claiming we want intimacy but dart away when he gets too close?

Do you think we really fathom how far-reaching Jesus’ love was, how he left a holy place and condescended to us on earth? Humanity didn’t just happen to Jesus; he chose it. And John 10:18 says he gave up his life for us voluntarily. That is big love.

Because he decided to be Jesus and not a stone image or despot, we know he was misunderstood and despised. We know he endured temptation. He grieved when John the Baptist and Lazarus died. He celebrated weddings and loved children but never married or had biological children. In Jesus’ death, the Father experienced what it means to have your child brutally killed. All of Jesus’ earthly experiences culminated in propitiation for our sin but also in our assurance that he knows our struggles and our needs because he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

Jesus still reaches for us, and not half-heartedly—he goes to great lengths—leaves the couch, if you will, to bring us to him. Luke 15:4 and John 10 tell how he is the Good Shepherd who searches for the lost and for those who stupidly run away from his protection and love.

Do you sense the Shepherd reaching for you? Do you know your shepherd’s voice? Do you vex him with indecisiveness and lukewarm responses? Do you trust him, or do you doubt his ability to carry you?

Don’t just glance at him over your shoulder when he beckons you. Stay a while. You can never thank him enough for the great length he went to so that you can be with him forever and know him right now.

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Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


Just fabulous. You bring a smile to my heart!!!

....Shepherd who searches for the lost and for those who stupidly run away from his protection and love..... Oh, praise God He still searches for us even in our stupidity. Wonderfyl Post. Thank you.

April 27, 2007 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

This is just what I needed today to reminde me that when I seek God I need to stay and listen.
Thanks for those words of wisedom.

April 27, 2007 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Sharon @ Little Lessons said...

Your dog sounds like my cat Tigger. Wants to be in your lap but on her own terms. What a wonderful analogy. We so much want our Loving Lord to hold us...but on our own terms. Wonder what our world would be like if all the Believers let go of the control and let Him pick us up and place us in His lap?

April 27, 2007 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Great reminder Linda, that we need to run to his lap and trust that he will never leave us or forsake us. (or drop us)

He is completly trustworthy!

April 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

This is really something we all need to remember, thank you.

April 27, 2007 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Deena said...

You rock, my sister...

April 27, 2007 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Susanne said...

This was a beautiful post, Linda. I can just see ourselves as your little dog wanting up but darting away. Praise God that He lovingly continues to call to us. Wonderfully written, Linda!

April 27, 2007 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

"Jesus still reaches for us, and not half-heartedly—he goes to great lengths—leaves the couch, if you will, to bring us to him."

Love that image!

And as for communicating with dogs, me and mine have our own secret language. I told someone this once and she said I should never tell anyone else. Go figure? :)))

April 28, 2007 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

God uses my dog to bring "illustrations" to mind all the time! I just loved this post! (And I loved Lisa's admission above, too. Actually my dog and I just chat right there in front of God and everybody. My kids have to remind me not to "chat" with him when friends are over...) I loved these thoughts today, and the powerful questions you posed at the end. Thank you so much.

May 1, 2007 at 5:16 PM  

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