Six new baby kittens were born on our Iowa farm a few weeks ago, down in the shed, next to an old TV set that hasn’t worked in years.
I like to think of our newborn kittens as accidental therapists. I’m often in need of a mood adjustment, so I come out to the shed several times a day and creak open the door, certain that I’ll find my smile somewhere inside. Kittens are great perspective shifters, living in the moment as they do — always chasing the fun or plotting mischief, with food breaks in between.
As much as I enjoy our kittens, they inevitably bring a mix of frustration and heartache to my life.
First, the frustration.
While impossibly cute, kittens are also furry little goblins with zero etiquette and a high sense of self. They knock things off the shelves of the shed. They ignore my stellar pet-parenting. Yesterday, a kitten named Dave peed in the cat food, even though I’d specifically trained him to use the litter box.
Second, these kittens bring heartache. Quite often, a kitten will mysteriously fail to grow. It will wander off to a corner, curl into a ball, seal its eyes shut, and die. We’ve been on this farm for nearly seventeen years now, and every kitten holds a bit of my heart. There are always tears when we dig tiny graves for tiny animals.
Still, I love these kittens – with a reckless, unreasonable love – even though I know they will break my heart. Even though I know they’ll misbehave. Even though they act they like don’t need me. Even though they think they are little gods running the show. Even though they snag my shirts with their sharp little claws.
The other day, as I was walking back up the hill from the kittens’ shed to our house, a truth bomb dropped into the center of my soul. It felt as if God were talking right to me with these words: “Now you know how I feel.”
I couldn’t get over the truth of it, rolling over me with a ferocious and holy warmth. I couldn’t get over how God just keeps on loving us like He does, how He actually enjoys us, how He creaks open the door of our lives, and in some weird way, He actually delights in us.
I mean, here we are – people who routinely break His heart. We surely frustrate Him. We think we are little gods running the show. We misbehave.
But He keeps on creaking the door open, keeps on loving us.
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a long list of things that, on their face, look like the sorts of things that would keep us from receiving the love of God: sin, trouble. Highs, lows. The thinkable and the unthinkable. But Paul writes, “Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:39, MSG).
The most liberating truth in all the universe is this: Jesus is absurdly and ravenously in love with us. He is for us.
He is for you!
You might turn your back on Him, change your mind about Him, stomp your feet at Him, or run away from Him. But He will never, ever leave your side.
You might fall, stumble, trip, fumble, sin, grumble, and make a general mess of things. But He can’t not love you.
He made a way back, a way up, a way out, and a way in. He came for you, all the way to Earth to rescue you. And He’s not giving up on you now.
Stand with me in this moment, on that patch of grass between the house and the kittens’ shed, with the sun warming our backs. And let God drop that truth into your heart. Hear Him tell you how He loves you with a reckless love.
And nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in the way of it.
Hear Him tell you how He loves you with a reckless love. -@dukeslee: Click To Tweet