I love Elsie’s warts, fleas, bumps, gray hair, bulgy spots… scars. When she was a puppy she was perfect in appearance – well, better than that – she was puppy cute. Now though, life shows on her. And those lumps and marks each have a memory.
Jesus loves my lumps and bumps just like that. He remembers when I was young and appreciates what’s happened to get were I’m at. “God never wastes a hurt.”
“… circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” Ro. 2:29
Elsie learned from most of those events, especially the ones that left a mark. She’s really good at “never doing that again.” A result of her experience is change and she is so much more trustworthy now than when she was a puppy. Not so much for doing “naughty things.” But more trustworthy with the things that get her into trouble. She wanders into the street less now than when she was young. Why? Because I’ve disciplined her for doing so.
Me? I’m really sort of stupid. The stuff that gives me pain seems to keep me coming back for more! Whats up with that? Gods discipline in my life is to let me wallow in the consequences of my wrong-doing, to feel the sense of separation from Him when I’m out wandering around. He knows I don’t like it. But after I “come to my senses” he’s happy to receive me back and I find Him right where I left him.
But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ‘ Lu. 17:17-19
Elsie’s list of character defects is so short I’m sometimes envious. There’s that barking at the Mailman thing, and getting up at midnight to go outside for “business.” Really there are just a few others. Most of these I find endlessly charming. For instance: Elsie has super-hero quality “Cat radar.” She reports each new siting with a stunning, high-pitched shriek of excitement and urgent tail wagging. I think she’s desperate for new friends… she’s an only dog among 6 cats in our family.
I’ve given up many activities that are symbolic of my issues over the years – symbols of rebellion, arrogance, pride, fame and fortune… and there are some I still struggle with. Vanity about certain personal attributes for instance “Lord Help Me!”
In every case God sees where His work in my live has left scars — were aspects of my fleshy self-orientation have been cut away.
“and he (the Angel of the Lord) touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.” Gen. 3:25
Jacob was left with a permanent limp. Everyone could see it. It was evidence that in his contention with the Lord, that he hadn’t given up, but had struggled until he received the blessing.
“Lord, I have faith but need more. I have issues, and want to get past them. Help me to wear my warts and wounds with humility and gratitude. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for changing me from the inside out.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Lu. 17:5