“There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” ~~ Philip Yancey
They howl. They bark. They are loud! One starts and the second one soon joins the chaos! They howl when I walk to the end of the drive to check the mail. They howl when I’m out mowing the grass. Sometimes, they howl at just the sound of the garage door going up. They even howl when I slip downstairs to work in my office. And I’m not even trying to hide from them – I just need to work and they are free to join me. But they don’t! They sit at the top of the stairs and howl at the top of their lungs because I left their line of sight. I left their presence.
And yes, it sometimes drives me a little nuts and you can often hear me beating on the walls to get their attention to let them know that I’m there – only just a few feet away. Sam and Charli – my two unbelievably spoiled wiener dogs – suffer from separation anxiety! What pet parent knew that such a thing exists – not this one!
I covered my ears this morning as I shut the door behind me. Got in the car and was hit in the heart with these thoughts – how does God react when I shut Him out – how does God feel when I tune out His voice – how does God respond when I choose not to enter His presence or I choose to leave His presence – how does God react when I start the day that He has given me without Him?
Please note, I’m the one taking the action – not God! I’m the one shutting God out! I’m the one tuning out His voice! I’m the one ignoring His presence in my life! I’m the one that started my day without Him! I should be the one suffering from separation anxiety! I should be barking, howling and yelling at the top of my lungs because I have separated myself from God!
Then I hear my friend Cathryn’s voice during our small group prayer time – “Grace, give yourself grace”. Why do we find it so hard to give ourselves grace? Is it our lack of trust? Do we think that He is going to walk away – never to return? Or do we react in our unbelief of His promises? Do we truly believe that He loves us unconditionally?
Paul shares with us in Romans 8: 38-39 the following words, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I reflect on Paul’s words after his conversion, I can’t help but think about how God proved this to be true for Paul. And if it’s true for Paul, then it is true for me! And true for you! I’m ready to take this promise from Paul. Claim it as my own. And live like I believe it!
How about you?
Father God, thank You for your gift of unconditional love. Thank You for first loving us. Help us to love You as You should be loved – with our WHOLE hearts. Cause us to live our lifes in ways that will bring you honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.