Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Guinea Pig Theology

This is Caroline's guinea pig, Pumpkin. She's a sweet and loveable creature. She's also a bit stupid and quite stubborn. As I helped Caroline clean Pumpkin's cage today, it made me think of the similarities between the relationship that Caroline has with Pumpkin and my relationship with my Caretaker. I know it may sound like a stretch, but these are the ways that God reveals Himself to me. So, if you're going to let me ramble on about the humiliating aspects of my life, you should at least allow me to elaborate on the more profound thoughts as well.

I'll start with my revelation about cleaning Pumpkin's cage. We usually try and clean her cage once a week. But it's been crazy busy around here and we went 9 days. The stench coming from the girls' bedroom was quite noxious. Maria actually stumbled backwards, recoiling in disgust as I opened the door to put her in bed last night. What did people do before the invention of Febreeze? The girls slept with the bedroom door wide open to ensure that no one would succumb to the fumes during the night. Obviously we cleaned her cage today.

It's quite an ordeal for Caroline to get Pumpkin out of her cage. As Caroline reaches in, Pumpkin will run around the perimiter of the cage avoiding the very hands that are going to bring relief to the filth that she's been living in. Frustrated, Caroline then has to remove all of the obstacles that allow Pumpkin places to hide leaving Pumpkin feeling exposed and vulnerable. I'm guessing here, Pumpkin hasn't actually given voice to these emotions. Once Caroline has caught Pumpkin she'll calm down and settle in quite well, allowing Caroline to lavish love and affection on her. Do you see where I'm going with this?

How many of us have made such a mess out of our lives, hiding from the very One who can rescue us from the muck and mire? Sometimes He has to remove our hiding places and comfort zones to bring us to a place where we will surrender to His loving care.

I feel the urge to stop and interject some comic relief. My job in the whole cage cleaning process is to actually dump the soiled litter into a trash bag because it is too big of a job for Caroline to do alone. Today's dump definitely involved gagging.

While Caroline has Pumpkin out of the cage (usually with the scratches from the battle) she likes to take the opportunity to hand-feed Pumpkin and just love on her. Recently Caroline had the idea to put her on a leash so that Pumpkin could safely get some exercise and expand her horizons beyond the four walls of her cage. We went to the store and Caroline bought, with her own hard-earned money, a Guinea Pig harness. I know...what will they think of next? Each week Caroline will patiently try and coax Pumpkin into her harness knowing that what feels to Pumpkin like an unwanted restriction will actually result in greater freedom than she's ever know before. Pumpkin, not understanding the better plan, just squeals and carrys on like someone is trying to kill her. Again, do you see where I'm going here?

God has given us His Word and boundaries not to restrict us but because He loves us and wants what's best for us. Sure, Caroline could turn Pumpkin loose to run free in the house and I'm sure Shorty (our dog) would welcome a new "playmate". Caroline, however, loves and cares for Pumpkin way too much to take even the slightest chance that an encounter with Shorty or other death trap might occur. I know, just like Pumpkin, that I can be so stubborn and stupid. (Yes, Maria, I know that stupid is a mean word.) How many times have I left the safety of God's harness to venture out on my own with devastating results? God gives us a free will to accept or decline His offer for safety and security. Safety and security that cost God a huge price. Will I ever quit squealing about it?

I don't know if this makes sense and I certainly don't know whether or not it's sound theology. I think it's safe to say that these thoughts won't make their way into any commentary or volume of Biblical insights. What I do know is that Caroline and I both paused for a moment today to think about God's love and care for us in His instructions for godly living. Thanks, God, for allowing even the mundane tasks in life to speak to us.

Simply stated: There is freedom at the Cross!


Anonymous said...

This is a test.

Anonymous said...

This is great...I suspect it will at least make it into a Sunday School lesson even if it doesn't make it into a theology book!