Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another lesson from my dog.

I have a St. Bernard. It is not surprising that she loves long walks in the cold of winter and can sniff out any critter through inches of snow (we tested this skill last winter on a family vacation).

What is surprising though is how much she enjoys sunning herself in the midst of summer heat waves.

Each day she finds a spot in the middle of the yard (far from the shade trees) and suns herself for about 15 minutes. Sometimes she holds her head up to the sky as if to even out some tans lines. Sometimes she sprawls out and stretches in the grass. Toward the end of her session she always begins to pant. I can tell that she is hot (fur coats were not made for Texas heat), but she stays to absorb a few more rays. Eventually she’ll retreat inside to rest on the cool entryway tile.

I’ve come to realize that my dog’s love for fresh air and sunlight must somehow outweigh the discomfort of rising temperatures with a thick fur coat.

This makes me question: How willing am I to endure a little discomfort for something I love? Or should I say for Someone I love?

I sometimes find myself retreating from God: from prayer, from the hard work of building virtue, from daily and deliberately striving for (not just talking about or dreaming of) holiness . . . when things get a little toasty.

Just like I dash from the blasting air conditioner in my car to the 76 degree oasis of my house, I find myself trying to skip from happy encounter to happy encounter with God, avoiding the heat at all cost.

But being purified requires a little heat, a little discomfort.

Today may we have the determination and the love to let God purify us. May we remain in his presence even when we don’t feel like it and stay close to him despite the rising temperatures. Face the hurts. Heal the wounds. Change the bad habits.

If a St. Bernard can enjoy the Texas heat I am convinced we can all learn to look “to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Lets all go soak up some rays.

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