I had a difficult time holding my head up when mommy and daddy first rescued me from the pound. The canine doctor said that my body was starved weak, that my lungs had more fluid in them than air, and that the medicine in small tablets that could help me needed more days to work than my life could give. But there was one more option.
This new mommy and daddy then they left me with the canine doctor, who would give me medicine in a faster way throughout the night. But I found myself in another strange place, tucked behind the bars of another cold cage with another person that poked and pricked me with sharp, shiny things.
I had been with my new parents only two days before feeling abandoned all over again.
The next morning, the canine doctor checked on me and said the medicine given to me through the needles was working, but it still couldn't help my head stay up. It always fell into my chest when the cage opened or closed or had a human near it. Everything felt the same as before, when the scars on my body were first carved into it, or when the midnight woods became the garbage bag in which I was tossed away.
Later that afternoon, a lady eased me out of my cage and gently walked me down the hall into a courtyard where my eyes deceived me. Standing there was my new daddy - two days away from the pound and a sleepover at the animal hospital later - waiting for me.
I couldn't believe it! He came back for me! And mommy did, too, but this daddy - this new daddy stood upright and looked straight at me as if I was the sole reason for his presence, a wreck of a puppy with one good lung and four spaghetti-noodled legs! And I flapped those noodlely legs as fast as I could until my body fell against the solidity of his as if he would carry together his full body weight and mine. And that he wanted to just so I could leave a cage for the very last time.
And the next day I woke up from my dreams to see that it was real. I was in this place called home with daddy, who helped me hold my head up and walk out from the corner of the room or the back of the sofa or any other place that felt like a cage but had no business convincing me that I belonged in one. And daddy did it the next day. And the next. And the next, for almost a year until my head confidently held itself upright and remembered that I was rescued, not caged.
The thing about that kind of love - the rescue kind - is that it's hard to accept; even long after it has been given.
Mistakes haunt us. Evil cripples us. Ideologies drown us (that’s a fancy way of saying someone else’s ideas get much louder in our heads than God’s Word ). Bad habits imprison us. Like cheese wrappers… Mommy says they’ll be the end of her because daddy can’t put a cheese wrapper in the garbage can to save his life. That’s why I’m really thankful that Jesus already saved it for him… and mommy’s life, too.
He saved it when he put His own life at the grave’s doorstep, let death know He was there, and then tore down its door. It's not hard to believe that Jesus did it; if any god is God at all, then death is nothing more to Him than a cheese wrapper needing to be tossed away forever.
It’s not hard to believe Jesus did it.
It’s hard to accept that he did… fully, willingly, and lovingly for you and for me.
This kind of Love - the Jesus-broke-the-grave’s-door kind - allows you and me to walk out of our cages and caves - our mistakes, our pasts, our hurts, and all - for the last time.
Never going back.
Cheese wrapper in the trash can forever.
If today, that seems hard to believe... maybe you just need a helping hand in accepting it. And that's great because Jesus always has two scarred ones extended in your direction, ready to help you hold your head up until you remember that you're rescued, not caged. Take him up on them.
He kept the door wide open for you.