Have you ever noticed how dogs and automobiles often resemble their owners? My adult children have older dogs. It’s uncanny how these pets have taken on similar traits and characteristics of their owners. Just watch 101 Dalmations and you’ll see this notion played out on the screen. The striking similarities between canine and owner are unmistakable.
We’ve recently welcomed a new four-legged fella into our family. His name is Rudy. The day we brought him home, I signed a lengthy, detailed contract, paid the agreed upon price and he officially became a member of the family. Not really a birthright, but binding nonetheless.
I wonder when he will start to act or look like me. Or maybe I will be the one to change. Right now, we are polar opposites. I like things neat, tidy, and quiet. He prefers messy, chaotic, and loud. He’ll grow up. I’ll mellow out. We’ll be best friends, twins even.
Driving on Hwy 54 recently I was getting off at an exit when I noticed a very sad, little car pass by me. It was dented, dingy, and downright dejected looking. To make matters worse, it was sporting a spare tire and the spare tire was nearly flat. It was seriously running out of options. I wondered about the owner of that sad little heap. Who was behind the wheel? Did the condition of the car reflect the condition of the owner?
My first car was a red Ford Escort. It wasn’t mine because I paid for it. I didn’t. The title didn’t even bear my name. My dad bought it and surprised me with it. It was an undeserved gift, a bit like an unearned birthright.
Unfortunately, years later, that cute little car ended up looking very sad and dejected. After a fender bender, its crumpled, scratched hood had to be held in place with a bungie cord because it no longer latched properly. And oftentimes, it would come loose, fly up and hit my windshield while I was driving. I still resemble that red Escort sometimes, bruised, broken, precariously held together and hoping for the best.
Isn’t it safe to say that most of us possess a certain likeness to those whom we belong, whether through appearance, behavior or habit? We typically resemble our parents in some form or fashion. I’ve even heard people exclaim how much a child favors a certain parent, unaware the child is adopted.
Parents often notice certain similarities between themselves and their offspring. A proud papa will even exclaim, “That’s my kid, a chip off the ol’ block.”?
If God is the Rock eternal, as Isaiah declared Him, (chapter 26: 4) then who are we? Couldn’t each Believer conceivably be called a “chip off the eternal Rock”? Christians are adopted into His Kingdom. We are assured of this in Second Corinthians 6:18, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
We are His. He is ours. Period.
Though I desire to be like Him, I confess I feel more like I disappoint my Abba Father rather than please Him. My life is riddled with fear when there should be faith, rebellion when there should be obedience, bitterness when there should be joy, and complacency when there should be determination.
I’m a mess.
I am dented, dingy and sometimes feel downright dejected. I’m running on empty and my spare tire is flat.
Can you relate?
It is in these moments, which sometimes turn into long days and scary nights, that I must remind myself to Whom I belong. I want to run down the street waving my birthright high in the air and proclaim, “I may be a mess, but I’m His mess!”
And that is the hope Believers have. Titus 3:7 assures us, “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Even on our worst days, we are not forgotten. We are not disowned. We are not orphans. We are loved by God. Forgiven. Adopted. Cherished.
The car I drive now doesn’t need a bungie cord holding the hood in place. It’s the nicest vehicle I have ever owned. It belonged to my mom and dad. They both died of cancer two years ago. Those were some rough days. But, in the midst of my parents’ illness and suffering, they each held onto that profound hope. The hope of Heaven. During those difficult days, the striking similarities between Father and child were unmistakable. Love. Surrender. Peace.
Laying down their earthly possessions, they grabbed ahold of their birthright and waved it high in the air. They were headed Home.
Undeserved and bought with a price, as Believers in Jesus Christ, our place in Heaven is secured. And while we live out our faith presently, let us also hold our birthright high and without shame, remembering to Whom we belong and just Who we should resemble.