It was morning and already it was starting off with the usual ritual. I opened my bedroom door and in bounded my mom's daschund, Cocoa, racing over to me for some attention, her tail wagging wildly. It always brought a smile to my face.
As I bent down to pet Cocoa however, I was struck with the thought of how she never deterred from her position of affection. She was always happy to see me.
Unconditional love they call it. It's the stuff of legendary stories in books and movies.
But the thought came to me. Was it really unconditional love?
By it's very definition, unconditional love is love given regardless of any faults, shortcomings.
The thought persisted. Was Cocoa really unconditionally loving me?
I had to admit, though Cocoa's loving attention was soothing for my aching soul, it was more of a "feel good" moment.
When I looked deep into Cocoa's loving deep brown eyes, I realized she didn't know me in the deeper way that only another human being can. She didn't know my past, my mistakes, my flaws. She didn't know my accomplishments, my struggles, my triumphs.
Cocoa knew me only as the one who walked her, fed her, bathed her, played with her and on and on. I reciprocated my own loving attention for hers. But unconditional love?
I felt duped. For years, I had heard people talk about their affection for their pets and their "unconditional love". I never questioned that. Now I was.
Who did know me through and through and love me unconditionally?
I could almost feel Gods' arms around me as I pondered the question. I felt God was telling me "I do my child".
I stood erect, shocked, feeling teary at the thought. I hadn't realized how often I came to think of God as "The Corrector". It was a joint effort I continually entered into to correct myself. I was a "co-corrector".
Love hardly seemed to fit in the same sentence as "correction" and yet, that seemed to be what God was telling me. He loved me. He knew every wrong thought, belief, action, reaction from the past, the present and even into the future and of course, He also knew when I got it right. He knew me. He really did. And yet, He maintained the simple declaration that He loved me.
It wasn't like I had never heard of Gods' love for me before this. I had. Many times.
For years, I have read and studied much about love since I seem to have had issues around this topic for as long as I could remember. I even taught classes on what Biblical love was.
But today was different. It was like coming face to face with the joy, the sheer delight, the love that God has for His creation though He knows us. I could almost feel Him jumping for joy to see me, be with me and to enjoy my company, like you would with a best friend.
They say that the word dog is really just the word god backwards. Could it be Gods' sense of humor to put a little of Himself in our most loving of pets to reveal His ecstatic joy, and His love for us?