Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
- 1 Corinthians 13:7
As I slowly – very slowly it seems – work my way through the 30 Day Challenge from Kathleen Ann Thompson’s Beauty in Every Day, I really do find myself challenged.
It’s not hard to see beauty every day! I’ve done that all my life. But this time I’ve been looking for something more.
As we found ourselves (like the old hymn says) tempest tossed on life’s billows, discouraged, and sometimes fearing all was lost, it seemed to me that counting blessings was perhaps the best antidote for spiritual seasickness.
So this time, as I work through the list of topics for the 30 Day Challenge I’ve been trying to find God’s special encouragements for me in the beauty all around me.
For Challenge # 15 it wasn’t hard to fix on my dog as someone who loves me unconditionally. I have already touched on this topic a little (here) but it seems worth elaborating.
My dog, Yae.
My husband maintains that this is the definition of dog: always, always hopeful even in the face of continuing disappointment.
My experience bears his definition out. No matter how many times I fail Yae, she bears it, continues to believe in me, still looks at me with enduring hope in her eyes!
And I respond!
For a long time I resisted, but that trusting look of hers has won out. I love her, too.
Until Yae, I was always a cat woman.
We almost always have three or four cats around the house.
In 2012 it was difficult to find someone to fill in for us while we were in North America and we unfortunately had to leave our home empty for the first few weeks. During this time, although church members fed the animals, the cats were locked out of the house.
They did not soon forgive us!
If you have ever been punished by a cat you will understand why after this my ardor for cats cooled significantly for awhile!
My favorite cat took it the worst. Not only did she develop obnoxious retaliative behaviours, she also began to deteriorate physically.
I think there is a spiritual lesson for me in this matter of dogs and cats.
We have suffered a bitter blow.
And it would be so easy to react like those unforgiving cats! But that’s a lose/lose proposition.
And so I choose instead to emulate the (ever hopeful) dog.
I choose to take to heart those verses that have been hanging on the bathroom door for nearly 20 years:
…we rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame,
because God's love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Romans 5:3-5
Here is another verse that I’ve been reflecting on lately.
Yes, God! We put our trust in you!
Fill us with your joy and peace. And, by the power of your Holy Spirit, may we overflow with great hope.