An abused dog is stroked for the first time. The sound is piercing and distressing. It isn’t quite a howl of anguish; more a shriek of intense fear. It glances round; eyes full of terror. This little puppy has known nothing but pain, beatings, torment and misery all its brief life. And here is a human who strokes and caresses, whispering words of love. What is this wonder?
It’s very hard to get this sound out of your mind. It really wasn’t going to be a blog post, but there was a overwhelming sense of analogy; a powerful feeling that something needed to be written about the human condition and the heart of the Father. You see, this poor, abused dog feels about mankind the same way many people feel about God. He is there to judge, condemn, punish and cast into outer darkness. All have sinned.. all fall short.. all are guilty.. all deserve eternal damnation.. ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God‘ (Heb 10:31).
This abused dog had known nothing but judgment and punishment, without ever understanding its error. Body and soul were battered and broken: its whole life was lived in the daily expectation of condemnation under the law, which it couldn’t fathom. And down the hand would come, and then the fist, and then the kicking and the bashing and beating. Nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. Nothing but a corner to cower in. When will this stop? How can I escape? What can I do to please? Man is the judge, and I fall short and must deserve all that I get.
But then, unexpectedly, comes affection. Instead of pain, there is disbelief.. trust.. tenderness.. kindness.
Now listen. God is love. God is grace. God is compassion, mercy and forgiveness. He doesn’t come with sticks or raise His fists in anger: He imputes obedience: you cannot earn His affection with good works. You need not cower in terror because of your sin: you may stand before Him with confidence because you are made righteous.
An abused dog is soothed because someone bothered to show it love and, with patience, heal its blinded apprehension of mankind. Only the spirit of this dog knows what is in him. Only the Spirit of God knows the things of God. The way of salvation may be narrow, but it is wide enough for the greatest sinner. God is not cruel. In all our greed, selfishness, slander, drunkenness, lust and moral deviance, He loves us. We can do nothing to earn His love. So come out of the corner, feel the arms of the Father around you, and cry your tears of joy.