Monthly Archives: September 2018

MOLLY AND ME – TRANSFORMED

When play is done for the day, toilet parade and garden inspection over and she feels mellow and sleepy, Molly loves to lie on my lap with her head on my tummy and gaze into my face with complete adoration in her soft brown eyes. I always respond with words like, “You are so beautiful. You are so sweet. You are my treasure. You are precious to me. I love you, my little one…”

A few weeks ago, I was lying awake during the night when two Scriptures invaded my mind:

“Without holiness, no one will see the Lord”, and “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  

I pondered these words for a while, wondering what the Holy Spirit wanted to say to me. I understand that to “see” God is not about literal seeing, nor is it about seeing God in the afterlife. What was the Lord saying to me?

David had a heart after God and, when he heard the voice of the Lord calling him to seek His face, he eagerly responded with the words, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8 – NIV). Since we cannot literally see God’s face, what did David mean? To see the face of God is to contemplate His greatness and His attributes, but even more than that, to respond to who He is by acting in ways that resemble Him.

God’s character can be summed up in one word – generosity. God is outrageously generous in who He is and in everything He does. “Righteousness” and “generosity” are often used interchangeably in the Scriptures. God’s righteousness is expressed in lavish generosity and wants us to treat others in the same way as He treats us.

In Hebrew thought, generosity is a duty demanded of us, but our generosity towards others should never out of a heart of benevolence towards those who are less fortunate than we are. It should be our response of gratitude to God’s overflowing generosity towards us.

However, to “see” God goes even further than that. The Hebrews had a word for the kind of generosity that goes beyond our duty – zikkut. It means doing more than is expected of us – simply because of who we are – God’s children who are made in His image and have His nature. To see God implies acting out of the very nature of God, i.e., experiencing the depth of His compassionate heart towards those in need.

Then another thought came to me as I pondered this “message” from the Lord. What about the Scripture that says:

“So all of us, with faces unveiled, see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; and we are being changed into His very image, from one degree of glory to the next, by ADONAI the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18 – COMPLETE JEWISH BIBLE)

I have chosen this translation because it accurately reflects the words of the original Greek text.

Slowly, the meaning of these words began to dawn on me. The Holy Spirit is not calling us to gaze at (or contemplate) Jesus in this text, but to gaze at His image in us. When we look into a mirror, we see our own reflection. So, too, as we gaze into the mirror of God’s word, we see the image of Jesus reflecting back at us. As I look into the face of my dog, I see something beautiful and precious in her that causes me to speak the words of love and blessing.

So, too, as I gaze at the image of Jesus in me – “Christ in me, the hope of glory”, I hear the words of Jesus expressing to me all that I am to Him. In Solomon’s love song to his bride, which mirrors the song of Jesus to His heavenly bride, he says to her:

“Everything about you is beautiful, my love: you are without a flaw.” (Song of Solomon 4:7 – COMPLETE JEWISH BIBLE)

As I speak my words of love to Molly, although she is only an animal, the more beautiful and precious she becomes to me.

So, too, I become what I look at. No longer do I see myself as weak, frail and flawed but as the very image of Jesus who, by His Spirit, is transforming me, one day at a time, into that image.

MOLLY AND ME – RETURN

I recently took a trip to Johannesburg to visit my son and daughter-in-law for a few days. I arranged with a friend to “dog-sit” Molly rather than put her in the kennels. My friend happens to have a nine-month-old dachshund puppy who is great friends with my Molly. Molly has an exaggerated maternal instinct although she has not had puppies and, to her, Layla was a rambunctious creature who needed training and discipline!

Despite their companionship during the day, Molly missed me terribly. My friend sent a picture of her sitting on the couch, staring at the front door as though she expected me to walk through it at any moment. In the evenings, she settled herself on my friend’s lap, under the red “blankie” which had my smell on it, as if to reassure herself that I was near.

I missed her too. I missed her warm little body next to me in bed and her happy little presence in the home, squeaking her ball or nestling on my lap when it was cold. I counted the days to my return, just to see her joy when she heard my voice and saw me at the door.

Is that how Jesus feels about our physical separation from Him? Oh, I know we have His presence with us by His Spirit, and even in us, but does He long for the day when He can hold us in His arms and we can talk to each other face to face? Does He count the days until He hears the Father say, “Go, my Son, and claim your bride.”

Although Molly was well cared for and loved by her foster mom, nothing, not even a favourite ball, could compensate for my presence with her. On my first night home, she could not creep close enough to me in the bed. All she wanted to do was to be cuddled against me so that she could feel me near her.

Do we miss the presence of Jesus so much that we stare at the sky, waiting for Him to appear? Do we ache for Him, just to be near Him and to hear His voice?

I told my friend to tell Molly, every night, that I would be home after so many sleeps… four sleeps…three sleeps…two sleeps…one sleep… then, finally the day arrived when I flew home to her.

Jesus said He would return. We don’t know how many sleeps until He comes, but we can be certain, because He promised, that He will return, and then we will never be apart from Him again.