Why do we get pets? Don’t we know how frustrated and angry they make us? They do their business anywhere but where you want them to for weeks, sometimes for years. They chew up furniture, pillows and various household items. They get into the trash and spread it all over the floor like a CSI looking for a clue. And don’t we know that sometime in the next decade we will be grieving their loss when their lives come to an end? But we purchase them, bring them home and care for them. We spend a significant amount of our resources to pay for food, training, grooming and vet bills.
As I write this, Blizzard, my four year old Siberian Husky, is in an animal hospital with the possibility that he may not return home.
Does he “love” me? I don’t think so. I know he likes to eat ice cream, receive attention and go for walks and car rides. I also know he does not like being brushed, bathed, having his nails clipped or being muzzled. I think much of his behavior is explainable by Skinner and Pavlov. But I know more than anything that I love him.
He wasn’t my first choice when I visited a group of adorable puppies the first time. Ironically, a tragic accident brought him into my life instead the pup I had originally chosen. So I brought him home, fed him, bathed him, cleaned up his business, cleaned up the trash messes, took him to training, “fought” with him trying to brush his coat and cut his nails, and I loved him. Why? Because I chose to. The value of the opportunity to love and care for him was worth the possibility of the pain and suffering I could experience.
We must admit, that in this world we make choices that we know will result in pain and suffering, but we make them because the value of the choice to love transcends the cost of the pain and suffering. As I think about this, I find myself reflecting about God and the problem of suffering from a new perspective. He knew what we would do when He created us and the price He would choose to pay to redeem us. He knows the depth of the mess we have made and grieves over our choices and loss. He feels the pain of losing what He has cared for and loved. It is no coincidence that Jesus was known as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. But the value of the choice and the opportunity to love transcends the cost of the pain and suffering incurred by both the Lover and the loved.
Have a little hope on me,