Never Out of Reach

I really thought I mastered it. I honestly felt I understood precisely how far to place things away from the counter’s edge so my German Shepherd, Lily, couldn’t get them.  At eighteen months, I believed she outgrew the curiosity of grabbing things placed there. I was sorely mistaken.

Silverware, paper, oven gloves, all found a way into her mouth! The most terrifying, though, was the pill incident. In my computer room, distracted in a Skype session with my out-of-town husband, I heard a crack come from the dining room. Investigating, I found Lily practically smiling at me with an empty pill bottle hanging out of her mouth. It was a full container purchased from the pharmacy only the night before.

I panicked. Abruptly ending the session with my husband, I desperately searched the house from top to bottom. No pill bottle top; no pills. With dusk setting in, my choices were limited; hunt in the backyard or immediately put Lily into the car and break land speed records to get her to the nearest animal poison control. Reluctant to put her through medical intervention, I opted to search.

Near the end my backyard investigation, I saw something white sticking out among the blades of grass. Could it be?  Yes, it was the top of the bottle. Now where were the pills?  In the growing shadows of evening, my flashlight beam illuminated them – faint robin’s egg blue tucked amongst the lawn’s dark blades.  I picked up all I could find, quickly went inside and counted them. All of them were there, now once again safe in the orange bottle.

Only when the bottle was placed on a cabinet’s shelf did my body react -folding in on itself, collapsing on the floor – too tired to do a victory dance, too exhausted to yell at Lily. Torn between strangling her or burying my head in her neck. The latter seemed more appropriate. Burrowing my head in her fur, tears started in earnest. How close had I come to losing her? And then I lifted up a quick prayer to God that she was more interested in the pill bottle than the actual pills.

When the tears stopped flowing  I realized how much I’m like Lily. How often do I strain my relationship with God for something that looks satisfying; that piques my interests? How often am I deeply tempted not to miss the pleasures of life even when they bring grief, fail to glorify God or, as in the case of Lily, can cause me real, physical harm?

In the darkening gloom of my kitchen, I had a moment when everything stopped. I realized how truly blessed I was – not because disaster was averted with my dog – but because I am loved beyond measure by a God who sees all the times I stumble off His chosen path for me; detouring to something unworthy of both Him and me.

Alone on the dirty kitchen floor, His love caved in on me; a love so strong it hangs on to me even on the most uncertain of days.  Even when I’m turning away, running away from Him.

Unlike the items on my counter, His love is never out of reach. And I’m truly in awe of all His love blessings even in the randomness of my days; aware I have no guarantees – except one. That nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

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