One of the things I do when I’m down and needing a boost is google animal rescue videos. I highly recommend it. You see the results of neglect and abuse and irresponsible owners, but you don’t see those actions. That makes it easier to take, and while you watch the rescue efforts, your soul will be flooded with joy! I guarantee it.
Independent animal rescuers fight fear, despair, diseases, and parasites every time they “saddle up”. Some of them get bitten. They bring home fleas every now and then. They answer the call at any hour. Those who can afford it have some fairly sophisticated equipment, but the one thing they all are equipped with is love. They all have a powerful, unconditional love for animals – “good” animals, dangerous animals, ugly animals, filthy, crippled, crawling with fleas or consumed by mange, animals of any species … it makes no difference. Tell them about an animal in need and they slam the throttle full forward and go to afterburner before their wheels leave the runway!
I’ve had “feral” cats let me touch them the first or second time they came to my feeding station. A couple I could pick up on their second or third visit. I do not recommend trying that. I have a friend who merely got too close to a feral tomcat, and she will carry the scars to her grave. But love takes risks!
Those of us who have become believers in King Jesus have been rescued by Him, and I know every genuine Christian will join me in saying to those who are not believers in Jesus yet, let Him rescue you! You won’t believe the difference that forgiveness of your sins and the love of God poured out on you makes! Even if your circumstances don’t change, you will be changed, and you will have a Rescuer Who will never abandon you (John 6:37; John 10:28-29) or abuse you: Jesus Christ the Righteous.
To accomplish this, He had come to this earth and suffer a terrible death. He had to “pay the adoption fee”, which in this case was the death of an innocent person – Himself – in the place of the guilty. We are guilty. He and only He in all of history never sinned, so He was eligible to die in our place.
One of the names given to King Jesus is “Redeemer”. If you don’t know what that means, go with me to a county animal shelter where a dog or cat is about to be euthanized. They know when they are under sentence of death. I don’t know how, but I have seen that soul-searing, heart-shredding sight too many times to be fooled. They know.
So the shelter employees tell you, “We have one that has stayed as long as we allow, and he’s going to be euthanized today. Would you like to look at him first?”
You agree, and a worker brings out a dog with tail down, head drooping, afraid to meet your eyes. This animal knows his life is about to end. But you choose this doomed animal to adopt.
The workers start filling out the paperwork, and they start talking telling this lucky fellow, “This is your human now! You’re going to your forever home today!” Their voices are happy, their body language changes, and they take the d
og and you to the front desk and start filling out the paperwork. You kneel down and talk to the dog, call him by name (Revelation 2:17), pet him, put the leash (Matthew 11:29-30) on him that you brought with you … and the dog begins to realize what’s happening! His eyes light up, he starts tentatively nosing you, then pawing you, and seeing that you welcome him, he snuggles up as close as he can get. He starts a happy whine, his tail starts revving up like a plane propeller, and you can’t pry him off yourself!
You have just learned what the title “Redeemer” means. That’s critically important, because you need a Redeemer too. Let me explain.
When you look at an abused animal, or human, you are seeing the results of what God calls sin. A practical definition of sin is “anything that in any way harms, damages, or destroys anything good or any living creature, including people.”
Sin always eventually grows and always eventually causes death. And we can not even stop even our own sinning. Because God loves His creation, He will not forever tolerate anyone damaging it. He will at some point divide the human race into those who have asked Him to redeem them and those who haven’t. Those who have, He will change into beings who will not damage the new Heavens and new earth he is going to create. Those who turn away from this offer of redemption will be quarantined. Forever. The quarantine is described as a lake of fire that exists forever. Hell is either a lake of fire or something so much worse that only the image of being burned alive in a lake of fire for eternity conveys what the real punishment is like.
Until we die or harden our hearts to the point that we can no longer hear the warnings God sends us, the choice is ours.
Do you want to accept the offer of the Redeemer? To go to live with Him when you leave this “kennel”? To “wear“ willingly now the “leash“ He requires? And to enjoy in the next life all that the most powerful, most pure love in the Universe can give you?
King Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ “