So, this week I think I've learned a little lesson about how God, as parent, loves us, as children--from my precious little dog, Charlie.
A week ago, we took Charlie to the groomer, and they shaved his belly a little too close. He spent the weekend licking it and irritating it (despite our requests to leave it alone). By Monday, he had a full blown rash and skin irritation, making his belly as red as a cherry. We put a cone on his head and tried to do as many at-home remedies as possible: benadryl, cortizone cream, etc. Of course, he hated the cone and basically hated us for putting it on him. By Wednesday afternoon, after three sleepless nights with him stirring all night long, Hal came home from work to find that Charlie was out of his cone, happily licking himself. By the next morning, he had completely broken the cone, so that it didn't function to keep him from licking. So, Thursday morning, with his rash not getting any better, I finally took him to the vet. One hour later, with a new cone on his head and loaded up with medicine, he was back to giving me his "death" stares.
And all week, I've felt like the worst mother ever. And Hal keeps telling me, it's for his own good; he's fine--just wait til we have kids, and we have to give them medicine they hate or make them eat food they don't like. I knew he was right. Even the vet said that the groomer probably hadn't done anything wrong; the skin just had irritated Charlie, and he'd caused most of the pain himself.
It was at that point that I was thinking, you'd think Charlie would know better... And then it dawned on me--he doesn't. He has a pain and, in his mind, licking it is the best way to ease the pain he feels.
I thought about how, sadly, we are similar sometimes. We only see the pain or the hurt in front of us. We keep licking wounds of unforgiveness or bitterness, in an effort to hold onto our pride and self-righteousness. God continues to caution us to leave the wound alone, to let it heal--but we don't listen. And sometimes, he flat out puts a cone around our heads, so we can heal. We might hate it, and try to hide from him. (Note: Charlie spent about four hours Tuesday morning hiding from me, under the desk in the office.) Or, if we do recognize that its for our own good, sometimes the process of healing will cause us to run into walls; cones around our head might limit our vision or our ability to do the things we used to do or want to do. But God knows. He's watching every move we make. He's directing us, so we don't run into anything. And He sees what's in front of us.
And the best insight of all, I believe God grimaces a little deep inside when He sees the cones around our head. He hates that He has to do it to us because, in reality, He wants to give us everything we want. He hates to see us unhappy. But, the truth is, He knows it's for our good. We might think Him cruel and unfair, but really, He's just being a parent who loves us enough to put a cone on our head and let our wounds heal. And, for this season anyway, He's more concerned about our healing than our happiness.