My dog loves me. No, he really loves me. Every day when I come home, he’s there to greet me. Every time. Regardless of how long I’ve been gone or the time of day; 100 pounds of hair, drool, and an excessive amount of energy will be at the door. I call my four-legged friend Noah.
I found it strange one day when coming home from running errands that Noah took a little longer to greet me and that his breath smelled much worse than usual. Regardless of the bad breath, I let him lick my face in normal fashion. As I walked into the kitchen, I figured out what took him so long; he was finishing off three chicken breasts and a stick of butter that I had kept out on the counter to thaw for dinner. A garbage disposal by nature; his lack of self-control and love for raw chicken and butter had gotten the best of him. With anger in my eyes I glanced at Noah who sat innocently giving me his “puppy eyes,” but I ignored him. He knew what he had done, and I was mad. I scolded him then threw on my boots and climbed into the car, racing to the nearest grocery store to buy more chicken with hopes of preparing dinner before midnight. Coming back home with groceries in my hand, Noah jumped up off the couch to greet me. Tail still waging 100 mph, licks too many to count. Whether or not he had remembered what happened an hour earlier, he greeted me like he hadn’t seen me in years. He was so happy to see me.
His happiness and eagerness to greet me, again and again, made me think. It didn’t matter that I had just yelled at him. In fact, it didn’t even matter if I had showered that week, or if I had just robbed a bank; Noah will always be at the door when I come home, unaffected by what I had just done. While my love is conditional, he is an expert in unconditionally loving me. Much like Christ’s love for me; unchanged by my sinful ways. Unmoved by my impatience towards my husband, my selfishness towards serving others, my discontentment, my greed, my wavering faith. Christ sees me as innocent and perfect, blameless and magnificent. Oh, what joy is found in His unconditional love towards me! Just as Noah welcomes me home, Christ welcomes me a sinner to join His kingdom.
On days when I feel like I’m not good enough or when I feel like God is so far away, I walk through my front door and look into the eyes of my golden retriever and thank God for sending him to me as a reminder of His perfect and inviting love.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Psalms 132:2 NIV