Story: Forgetting

Jonathan could hardly believe the gifts he’d been given.

His father had sacrificed everything he had to not only ransom him from prison (which he was in due to his own fault–due in fact to crimes he’d committed against his father), but also buy him everything he would need for surviving in the wilderness in which they lived. He’d been given a flashlight to light up his path, access to food to sustain him in his father’s kitchen, a shelter to hide under during the scorching heat–the list could go on and on. Above all, his father had given him his word that he would meet all his needs forever.

Now, you would think Jonathan would have been incredibly grateful for all he’d been given. And he was–at first. He couldn’t believe that his father would have given him so much, especially when he knew how wrong he’d been and how much his actions had grieved his father.

Yet as the weeks and months went on, a strange thing began to happen. Jonathan began simply ignoring his father’s precious gifts. He got busy with life and found himself complaining more than giving thanks. He complained about how dark it got at night, forgetting about the flashlight his father had given him. He complained about how hungry he was, forgetting to go to his father for food.

Jonathan had been given everything–yet he was living as if he had nothing. He was tired and angry and fearful and frustrated–all because he’d forgotten his father’s gifts.

One day, he wad pouring out his frustrations to a friend. His friend shook his head. “If you’d just stop ignoring your father and instead remember all he’s done and given you, you could be walking in peace and joy. You’re all worried about how you’ll meet your needs, but didn’t your father promise to meet them? You’re all frustrated because of how dark the prairie gets at night, but didn’t your father give you a flashlight? You’re malnourished and exhausted, but have you been going to your father for food?” he admonished.

Jonathan shook his head, realizing how foolish he’d been. “I’m not sure my father will want to see me now,” he muttered.

His friend gently touched his shoulder. “You know that’s not true. Your father rescued you when you had nothing. He’s longing for you to run to him.”

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (KJV)

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3 (esv)

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Short Story: Unconditional Love

Wedding

Lilly loved the golden bracelet she’d been given. It was a symbol of her fiancé’s love—something precious beyond measure. She reached out to touch it…

Panic gripped Lilly’s heart. The bracelet wasn’t on her wrist! She knew she’d put it on that morning. She must have lost it! It could be anywhere—she’d been on a long walk. Where, oh where, had it fallen off?

And how could she lose that bracelet? What must her fiancé think? She felt unbearably terrible and ashamed.

Unable to find it on her own, she told her fiancé; his reaction completely surprised her. He wasn’t mad at her. In fact, he assured her that all that mattered to him was her. He wept with her because he knew she valued the bracelet and assured her he’d work with her to find it if they at all could, but her actions had not affected his love in the least.

Wiping away the tears and the shame, Lilly began to realize that her fiancé wasn’t surprised at her failures—and when she failed, she should run to him, not away. His arms were always open wide; he saw her, not as the mess she was, but as his spotless, beloved bride.

“…Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Revelation 21:9 (KJV)

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)

Returning to Rest

Biscuit bounced into the room with all the energy and joy of a puppy, despite being a two-year-old lab. She wagged her tail and happily buried her face in Jason’s lap.

Jason lovingly stroked her head. He loved Biscuit. And so far, Biscuit had seemed delighted with her new owner. Ever since he had rescued her from the pound, she had seemed to understand that Jason loved her and would care for her. He was so very different from her previous owner, who had treated her harshly.

*******

One day, Jason couldn’t find Biscuit. It was so unlike her not to greet him the moment he walked in the door. What had happened?

He finally found her hiding underneath a bed. She hid her head in her paws when she saw him, trying to hide her eyes and make him disappear.

“What are you doing, Biscuit? It’s okay…you can come out.” It took quite a bit of coaxing before Biscuit finally came out from under the bed. Her whole frame trembled, as her head was hung in shame. Tail drooping in between her legs, she led Jason into the other room. As Jason surveyed the broken china and glass all over the floor, he suddenly understood. Biscuit had obviously broken the lamp and then hid herself under the bed, afraid her master would no longer love her.

Jason reached out his hands gently and stroked Biscuit. “It’s okay, girl. I still love you. Nothing you do will make me stop. You may have consequences for what you do,”—Jason added this as he noticed a small cut on her foot caused by some of the broken glass—“but I’m still going to care for you.”

It took several days of Jason repeating these words and still lovingly caring for Biscuit before the happy wag came back to her tail. Once again, she was at peace in her master’s care.

*******

Biscuit was still adjusting to her role as mother. She took the responsibility of caring for her four puppies very seriously. In fact, she hadn’t seemed to realize yet that Jason would care for them just as he had for her. Once they finished nursing, she seemed convinced it was still her job to provide food for them. She even tried her hand at hunting—which proved a comical, although utter, failure.

Jason faithfully put out food for each puppy as well as the mother. Each time he did, though, Biscuit seemed incredibly surprised and relieved. It took months before she finally realized she didn’t have to worry—her master would take care of her puppies as well as her. The happy wag returned again to her tail. She was at peace in her master’s care.

*******

At one point in time, Biscuit ended up with a broken leg. Jason, as usual, took good care of her. He got the leg set and casted (even though Biscuit hated the veterinarian working on her) and gave her medicine to ease the pain. He even carried up the stairs when her leg was too sore to make the trip.

But as the days went on, Biscuit began to show signs of depression. She wouldn’t eat well, and she didn’t seem interested in anything.

Jason kept trying to interest her in all the things she still could do—sitting on his lap, chewing a bone, etc., but Biscuit remained uninterested. All she wanted to do was run and play outside—and since she couldn’t do it, she seemed determined to be miserable.

“What’s wrong with your dog?” Jason’s friend Mike asked one afternoon when Biscuit shrank back from his attempts to interest her in a toy. “She used to love that toy.”

Jason nodded. “I know. She’s been this way ever since her injury. She doesn’t seem to believe that I’m still here caring for her.”

“Too bad,” Mike remarked. “She was always such a happy one. What are you going to do?”

“Do? Why, keep loving and caring for her, of course. Maybe one day she’ll realize she can rest in my care, no matter what’s happening or how she feels.”

“Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.” Psalm 116:7