My daughter Gracie has a cute fluffy dog named Sugar. Now I know each cute fluffy dog is certainly beloved by its owner. But, I must make the case: their love just cannot match Gracie’s adoration for her Sugar. Likewise, Sugar faithfully adores Gracie.
I observed this remarkable devotion when Gracie needed some privacy and shut the door to her room. Sugar got the idea and gave her space. However, the entire time Gracie was in there, Sugar faithfully stood post outside Gracie’s door. I walked by a couple of times and smiled to myself, touched by the scene. Gracie was in there a while, and Sugar was NOT budging.
He knew exactly who was inside that door and clearly, he just wanted to be near her. He knew that just behind that door was his beloved Gracie, full of love and patience, assists up onto high places, accommodating trips outside, occasional clean ups, and of course, food! So there he patiently sat, waiting.
Because he knew his master well. Time and relationship had proven that the one behind the door loved him well and loved him most. Where else would he rather be?
This picture reminded me of my own heart, when I am abiding in the profound kindness and grace of God. When I am seeing God rightly, I seek his presence. I get as close to Him as I can. I can hardly stand a moment when I feel discord with Him. I just want to be near to the heart of the God I love.
God calls us to draw close. James 4:8 reads, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” God is so kind. If we truly seek Him, He will certainly not leave the door closed for long but will open it, welcoming us into His loving, gracious presence.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
But what does this knocking, this drawing close, look like? For me, it’s about quieting my soul and first remembering that my time with God is sacred. I humbly and prayerfully ask God to still my heart so I can hear from Him. Is there is anything between us? As I prayerfully confess my sins, I receive His generous forgiveness once more. I must choose to believe God’s love and grace is as deep as the sea and that He remembers my sins no more. “He will again have compassion on us…You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
The door is opened. As I enter into His warm welcome of love, I die to my own thoughts of unworthiness and I am lovingly, fully restored. I let the fullness of His love in and my spirit is refreshed by the sweetness of His acceptance of me through the gift of the cross. It then becomes my joy to seek His face – to pray further, to read and ponder His Word, to sing to Him! For I know He is loving and He is good – and there is no place I would rather be than in His presence.
What a gift to spend time in God’s presence, to get to know this Holy God even in some small measure. Oh, the presence of God – surely there is no more sacred and wonderful place on earth!
I’m sure, as moms, we all recall our own sweet kids sitting outside our bedroom door as we tried to have a moment of privacy. Our first thought is “Really? Can’t I just have a tiny bit of time to myself here??” But thinking about it a little more deeply, how can we blame them? Our kids know that we moms are that safe place, those safe arms, comfort, security, real love. I think I understand the “sitting outside the door” routine a little better after watching Sugar faithfully standing post outside Gracie’s door. We all know where the love is, we know where we are safe and wanted. If the Source of all this goodness is true and real, we will wait for it just about anywhere, for as long as it takes!
As we raise our kids and they look to us for all of their security, love, safety (and oh, so much more!), may we be faithful to tell them the truth: we are parents who truly could not love them more, but sadly, we will sometimes fail them. However, there is One who will never fail them, there is One who loves them perfectly and forever.
May we teach them to knock at the door and to seek. May we show them by the way that we live, that fullness of life is found in drawing close – in just being near the heart of God.
– Julie McGrath