A photo of Gracie, the Shih Tzu-Bichon mix, wearing her favorite blue bandana.

One of my closest friends is struggling, and she asked me some tough questions in her pain. Like, “If God loves us so much, why doesn’t He miraculously fix the messes we live in?” And, “If we are God’s children, why does He let us suffer?” Those are hard questions almost all of us have had. Questions like that usually accompany a feeling of being disappointed and underwhelmed with God.

I’ve been there. It started when my dad died. Watching him suffer, knowing if Jesus walked in the room, my dad would be healed, yet Jesus lives in me, so why couldn’t I get it done?! Then a series of personal health problems led me to tell the Creator of Heaven and Earth that I was disappointed in Him. I told Him, “I expected better from You.” That was a turning point in our relationship. It’s much deeper now. It’s the “better” I needed but not the better I thought I wanted or expected. In my better, I’m learning to let go of expectations, quit future-tripping, and live in the grace of the day I am in.

Today, I hurt for my friend. This faith walk is challenging when we are broken and believe our loving Heavenly Father can “fix” things with a wave of His holy hand. At least in our minds, that’s how it should work. Times like these can make us feel unloved.

My sweet and uber-happy dog Gracie isn’t her usual sunny self these days. She’s acting like she’s feeling unloved and jealous due to a case of middle-child syndrome since we got the new pup. I want so badly to make her understand my heart. That she’s the apple of my eye, and while I may love the others, it in no way diminishes my affection for her. I try to show her, but short of removing the other dogs that I love, I cannot communicate this message to her.

In the meantime, she’s acting out, which is causing circumstances and consequences that are furthering her belief that she’s no longer loved. It’s now a self-feeding cycle I’m trying hard to stop by applying lots of patience and love. It’s painful for me to watch this, knowing my heart for her, yet not being able to tell her in a way she understands.

Maybe that’s what it’s like to be God. I believe He created us in love because He wanted a family. He set this in motion with the determined plan to set us all free. Free to make our own choices and figure out our feelings about Him. There is no relationship without freedom. But sometimes freedom hurts. Especially when our choices are self-destructive or crash into others and create havoc. The answers to such problems will only be found in our relationship with our Creator, in learning to trust Him and His love for us.

My friend Gloria Williams says that God isn’t as concerned about changing our circumstances as He is about changing us. She says the “changed us” will naturally modify our lives and help others change theirs. I like that because it sounds like what Jesus said about loving one another being the most important thing. People who know they are well-loved will naturally love others well. Maybe God sees that as His goal, while we have different ideas?

Who knows? Me trying to understand God is like Gracie trying to figure me out. She can understand I love her, and she can learn to trust me, but other than that, I remain a mystery to her. In her doggy brain, she probably feels the pup is the problem. But it’s not the pup that’s the problem. It is her perspective about the puppy that’s causing her problems.

Well, it’s time for me to pray for my friend and take my dogs for a walk. I’m trusting Him to be big in our lives in ways we never dared dream, hope, or ask for. Most of all, I’m trusting Him to communicate His love for us in ways we can begin to comprehend. And I ask all of you to pray for Gracie!



6 Responses

  1. Gracie, you are a very smart animal so you have to know you are loved, and mom has enough love to share among all of you. Your circumstances are not going to change, so it’s up to you and Jesus for you to adapt. I love you, too and don’t want to see you hurting. My prayer is that you feel all the love available to you.

  2. Gracie, you’re such a special girl and I love you so so much, and I know your momma loves you too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.