Reflection

Abounding Grace

September 1, 2016

Grace accepts us as we are but never leaves us there.

I have often said that I am every dog’s favorite Auntie. I love my friends’ dogs, and cherish all of their unique personalities. I met Annie two years ago in Michigan. She’s a rescue dog, and my friend gave her a Forever Home when she was about two years old.  She was named for the high-spirited title character in Anne of Green Gables. It wasn’t long before my friend discovered that Annie had more behavioral issues than what was originally known.  Annie lacked boundaries and jumped on people and furniture, and repeated training seemed to be going nowhere. My friend, who’d had several dogs prior to Annie (including a Golden Retriever with a huge joie de vivre), quickly realized training this exuberant pup was going to be a big job.

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 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased,
grace abounded all the more, so that…
grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21 English Standard Version

  I saw Annie again this summer during our vacation. Oh, what a difference two years made!  She wants to jump, but knows she shouldn’t. She understands most of her commands and wants to be a good dog. At the cottage where we stayed, Annie is allowed to sit on one chair, and she knows it’s “her” chair, with a soft blanket that comforts Annie and protects the chair. My friend says that Annie’s made progress but believes that, because of whatever she experienced in her past, she’ll never be 100 per cent trained. However, she loves Annie and grace abounds even during training.

 One of Annie’s endearing traits comes from her fear of insects. Perhaps she’d upset a nest as a puppy, but when she encounters a bee, she runs into a flower bed to hide.  This photo was taken when she was “hiding” from trouble.

 Annie has come so far since she was rescued, and who knows what she’ll be like when she an old, happy dog?  Her family doesn’t expect her to ever be totally trained, but they don’t love her less because of it.

We’re all like Annie, and Jesus is our rescuer. None of us will ever attain spiritual perfection on this side of Heaven, because we live in a fallen world.  But we have a loving Father who trains us with His Word, who corrects us when we go astray, and who never stops loving us, even when we think we’re safe from trouble in a flower bed.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:57

When I see this photo of Annie, and think of God’s love for me, and far I’ve come since He rescued me 31 years ago, I cry a tear of joy that I belong in a loving, forever family, and look forward to the day when I will go to my true Forever Home.

Thank you, Father God, for loving me just as I am. I know that I sin and fall short of your glory but every week I hear those wonderful words: “Your sins have been forgiven!” Thank you for loving me so that I can share Your love. Amen.

 Photo copyright Diane M Amerman; text copyright Victoria A Heinecke

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