This past weekend, I was dogsitting for a 4-month old puppy named Brewster. He is the recent addition to the family of my friends Greg and Joy, who were out of town for the weekend.
The fact that Brewster is still in the chewing, biting, housebreaking stage made the weekend busier than usual. But also having my own grown-up dog, Precious, here too made the weekend more conflicted.
What was best for Brewster often felt like a slight to Precious, and vice versa. Brewster needed to go out every 30 minutes to avoid accidents on the floor. Precious doesn’t like to be in the house by herself. I needed to take Brewster out on a leash in the open part of the yard, but because I couldn’t handle two dogs on leashes, Precious just had to fend for herself in the fenced in area. But when I took a shower, Brewster couldn’t be trusted to roam the house, so he had to go into his crate; Precious sat in the hallway waiting for me. Brewster got a treat after every visit outside: part of his training. Precious has weight problems, so too many treats are a no-no. And the list goes on. Caring for both Brewster and Precious, when their needs were so different, was hard to do.
This dynamic has always been what amazes me most about God’s love for us all. While I couldn’t even figure out how to be a good caregiver to two different dogs, God loves us all as a Father, never caring for one of us less because he is focusing more on another.
I’m no better with people, to tell you the truth. I can’t love lots of people equally, at least I can’t demonstrate love equally. When one friend has a great need, my relationships with others suffer. Same is true with my family. My relationships are more like a pendulum swing than the soft, steady pounding of a good rain. That’s how Father loves us: pouring Himself out onto all of us equally, soaking into our souls without considering our skin color or bank account or reflection or personality.
I want to love this way, giving myself generously and graciously, but I also want to learn to be loved this way, remembering that God is not like me. I don’t want to look at the way God loves others and feel envious or bitter. I don’t want to see a friend’s happy marriage, energetic children, meaningful job, or successful ministry and think that God has given her more of his love.
Instead, I want to look to the cross, to that bleeding brow and those outstretched arms, and remember that God loves us all the same, extravagantly, sacrificially the same.
Today, I am blogging in community with Ann Voskamp and friends. Follow the link above for other posts on “Loving Like Father.”