We kept hoping he’d figure it out. Sleep on this side of the Pack ‘n Play. Poop on the other side. It was so simple even a puppy could understand it. But after seven long weeks of hoping (along with almost daily baths!) we finally had to admit that it just wasn’t working. It was time to try something new.
So we put away the Pack ‘n Play and invited this untrained puppy into…our bedroom.
It felt foolish. Risky. Counterintuitive. He certainly hadn’t earned the privilege or proven himself trustworthy. But desperate times call for desperate measures. So we did it anyway.
We scattered a few puppy pads around the room, praying that he would choose them over the carpet. We made him a little bed next to ours and held our breath as he curled up, without whining, in a contented ball. He slept peacefully, happy just to be near us.
I slept, fitfully, fearfully. The next morning I cautiously peered over the side of the bed, dreading what I might find. But lo and behold, he was clean and dry! And so was the carpet! We jokingly called it our Christmas Miracle. In fact, he’s now gone an entire week with nary an accident or a bath!
Yet isn’t this how Grace works?
We, too, couldn’t help ourselves. Try as we might we just couldn’t stay clean. Then, one day, the Father lifted us out of the confines of the Law, which we had been unable to keep, and set it aside. It was time for something new. Jesus came, took our filth in exchange for His righteousness, and escorted us right into the very throne room of God.
We did not deserve such kindness. We had not earned this trust. Yet it was given to us anyway.
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Romans 6:14, NLT)
When we gave Beau the run of our room, we weren’t sure how he would handle his newfound freedom. We knew he could abuse it. That’s the risk grace takes. But being in our presence calmed and settled him. It changed him.
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2, NLT)
Grace changes us, too. When we experience the thrill of being in God’s gracious, holy presence, sin loses its pull. His law is now written on our hearts. (See Hebrews 8:10.) We want to please Him.
We don’t do it perfectly. Accidents still happen. But our hearts are inclined in a new direction: to stay near this One who has showered us with such extravagant grace.
As I lifted Beau onto my pillow for a snuggle the morning of The Miracle, a tear slipped down my cheek. If I could love a helpless, ignorant puppy through this messy process, how much more must God love me? If being brought near to us could change him, how might nestling even closer to God’s heart change me?
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)