I never expected our hyperactive goldendoodle to teach me so much about God’s grace, but He’s funny like that sometimes.
Lately she keeps going into the yard, throwing herself in the dirt and rolling around. She comes in filthy, with bugs and slugs (which are disgusting by the way) and leaves all in her fur. Add to this the fact that her fur is quite similar to jerry curls, so this new-found habit is beyond difficult to remedy.
It’s frustrating and annoying and we can’t make her stop. Even when we stand out there and watch her, she unashamedly flips herself over in .02 seconds like it’s her job!
But, every time after I correct her, I have to pull her in close and clean off the dirt and brush off the mess. She’s sheepish and still and let’s me make it better.
And every time, it’s like I’m watching the story in Genesis 3 unfold again. They ate, saw their nakedness, He corrected, then he pulled them in and made them coverings from skins of animals that they could never have made for themselves.
“And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
He extended grace to them and offered forgiveness and love that they didn’t deserve (both spiritually and practically). He protected them after they’d turned their back on His command. As they came forth sheepishly covered with leaves, He did indeed correct, but He also loved.
Even in His punishment, there were traces of grace. Yes, Eve would have pain in childbirth, but the miracle of life that comes through pregnancy couldn’t even happen apart from Him. Yes, Adam would toil against the earth as he worked for his food, but what a grace of the Father to give us an agricultural system that produces life-giving food! His grace cannot be separated from His character, it is in His nature to love and provide.
Lainey isn’t sinning against God, she’s just a dog rolling in the dirt. But so often as I gently clean her up, I just think back to that story and that constant pattern that I so easily fall into. I sin, doing the things that He has spoken against, and then, embarrassed and aware of my sin, I attempt to cover myself up with “leaves” and present myself timidly before His presences. But grace. Gosh, it is so undeserved!
I do nothing good on my own, yet He extends mercy. I could never earn His love, yet He forgives. It’s amazing. Beyond belief even. What a mighty, unfathomable God who sees me roll in the dirt, watches me choose my flesh over the Spirit, sees me not learn from my mistakes but rather repeat them daily. And yet He sent His Son to die for me. He gives more grace. He dwells in my heart.
I am undone! He is worthy of my entire life, my everything. God is good, all the time. Every time.
So thanks, Lainey, for teaching me more about my gracious Father. I don’t enjoy the mess you make, but the grace that it reminds me of is bigger than any dirt you track inside.