Driving to school today, I had one of those delightful kid moments….when the son teaches the parent. For some reason, he started asking questions about when his dad and I were first married, which led to a discussion about our first dog, King. Fondly referred to as our first attempt at “parenthood” King was an amazing animal and very protective “of his people.”
Though he didn’t start out that way. You see, King was adopted. He was owned by a couple who was going through a nasty divorce, and as a puppy, was left ignored and locked up for lengthy intervals. When he was let out, he experienced arguments and negative behavior around him. King was just 8 months old when he joined our family and to be quite frank, he was a little messed up psychologically. Due to his early living environment, he was insecure, tentative and untrusting. He was never sure when and why he might be harshly treated.
My son asked me about the day my husband and I went to evaluate King for adoption. I laughed out loud when I remembered that the dog literally jumped into my husband’s lap and wouldn’t leave it. It seems the decision was made. We gathered him and his things, and he bound out the door to our car, never looking back. It was like he knew – he was headed to the Promised Land!
It took a while for King to learn that he could trust us, that we would love him and never leave him and that we would trust him….but hold him accountable when he broke a house rule.
In return, King became fiercely loyal, incredibly loving and protective as could be of all of us.
So this is where my lesson came in, as my son remarked, “Isn’t King’s experience a metaphor of what can happen to us in life?”
“How so?” I asked.
“King was in a bad situation he did not expect to change. He was unhappy, scared and insecure. When we adopted him, he went to live in a new home and became a valued member of the family.”
He was right, that is just what happens when we meet Jesus. Before we give our lives to him, we do not know how loved and free we can be. God adopts us into His family, loves us without condition and through the time we spend with Him, we learn that His character is trustworthy. We become free, no longer bound by un-forgiven sin, no longer burdened with the pain of the past. We too can metaphorically enter the Promised Land.
My son and I talked a bit more about this concept and he said, “…and Mom, you know how King became so protective of us? That is what the Holy Spirit does too. He speaks to us in our hearts when we are headed the wrong way, just the way King would try to get our attention and warn us when danger was around.”
Wow. Out of the mouths of babes, or in this case – teenagers! Wisdom abounds!
Jesus said let the little children come unto me, now I understand why. The youth can sometimes see circumstances so much clearer than there older “wizened” elders. It is so simple and uncluttered.
As is the love of God.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! Corinthians 5:17
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-21