I've heard some incredible teachers and preachers in my (short...ahem) time on this planet. I've heard them use majestic metaphor and substantive simile. I love the depth that has been illustrated for me, time and again, by solid thinkers in The Faith - some are well-known, some, like my own husband, little-known.
Try as I may, my mind won't work majestically. I sigh and I try, and therein lies the problem. When I tune into my life as it really is, in all its quotidian acedia (oh, do look the words up - they are delicious to say, but bitter to live) the revelation of grace can come honestly. Like the revelations to be found in puppies and cookies.
It is no secret that I adore my puppy. He is a teacup poodle named Rambo, and he is aptly named. Just you try to touch me or especially my husband, when we are holding our 2 pounds of fuzzy furry...the itty bitty silver bullet....the Rambo Beenie. He will snarl and lunge like a warrior-rottweiler.
In fact, my puppy sometimes acts appallingly, and I still smile. I delight in this little dog no matter what. Not long ago, I examined this anomaly. You see, I am known to be ever-working to improve myself, and therefore take unbridled delight in only a few things. But I take disturbing delight in my poodle...everyone finds it disturbing, because his misbehavior has no affect on me whatsoever.
I decided this is because I have no fear for this animal's future. God bless all those who believe that puppies have eternal souls: I do not. Therefore, no amount of spoiling on my part will send Rambo's soul to the Lake of Fire. In essence, this dog is "eternally secure", in that his future is fully known to me: he will live in the lap of luxury and love, and one day die. That will be that (and yes, I will grieve terribly). Nothing in terms of Rambo's ultimate destiny is up in the air. He can't misbehave his way into Canine Judgement. He can't bite hard enough to hurt a toddler.
I am utterly free to delight in my dog.
It was then, when I stopped to consider these majestic metaphors, that I realized: the Lord delights in me! He knows the plans He has for me. He has forever settled my ultimate destiny. No amount of "misbehavior" on my part can shake Him from His love for me, in Christ Jesus. Far from being antinomianism, (and unlike Rambo) this kind of good news actually makes me want to "heel" - to follow close by my Owner's side forever.
Poodles and antinomianism and eternal security aside (after all, a mind can only take so much splendor) I also began to wonder why baking cookies for the kids wasn't so much fun anymore. In fact, I was just pondering this tonight. Used to be, a batch of cookies was a day-maker. Making a couple of sheets of home made chocolate chip cookies had the potential to bring inner healing to four children who, on some days, were fraught with naughtiness and discord.
Ah, but now they are All Grown Up. They are adults, three of them, with jobs and net spendable income. They can buy these treats for themselves, anytime they want. They can work for them.
As it is with the free Gift of Grace. It is precisely when we think we have matured our way "past" it, that the gift begins to lose its luster. The fun is taken right out of living in it. The truth that used to make our day and heal our hurts, now is something we can earn for ourselves. If we can get it for ourselves, it must be pretty common and obtainable. When God offers it to us, His grace is reduced (in our minds) to merely The Nice Gesture. A Nice Gesture is entirely unable to change us.
Hear me - hear me well! Don't rob God and yourself of the delight and fragrance that should characterize piping hot, fresh from the heart of God, sweet grace. You will never be able to work for it, you cannot obtain it on your own, all ideas of any righteousness of your own are a dangerous illusion.
This is where the metaphor breaks down, as it isn't dangerous at all for my children to make their own cookies. See why I sigh? My metaphors just aren't majestic enough.
Oh well. It is what it is. Puppies and cookies and grace.
LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me...