Jeremiah 31:3 – Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (KJV)
I visited Mary at the women's shelter several times, but she was still very passive and withdrawn. She rarely looked me in the eye and never appeared happy to see me. Many people had hurt and disappointed her, so it was difficult to convince her that I cared. How was I ever going to touch her heart? Was it worth driving 22 miles to visit her each week? I was discouraged.
Then I recalled the slow reaction of our little dog when we first brought him home. Just a puppy, he was used to living in a cage in a large barn, rarely being handled. I picked him because he was the only dog in the cage that wasn't barking. His siblings were loud and vociferous in their demand for attention, but evidently, Pogo had given up on the world. He figured that no one cared about him, and he had withdrawn emotionally. Even when I picked him up and cuddled him, he didn't respond in any way.
Because the puppy was still wet from a bath at the puppy mill and I didn't have a towel with me, we put him in a small box on the front seat as we drove home. I realized that the ride was probably frightening to this little tyke who had never been anywhere in his life. So as my husband drove, I kept my hand inside the box on the dog's shoulder to reassure him and comfort him. After a couple of hours, he began to respond.
He put his little paw on my hand and then gradually reached upward. Soon his head was out of the box as he tried to get closer to me, so I put him on my lap. Feeling the warmth of my body, he began to crawl up my chest and soon was wrapped around my neck. He didn't understand it, but he had found love.
At home we bathed and brushed him, but soon he retreated to a folded blanket under our bed. He had to be coaxed out several times a day. It took a few weeks before he was convinced that we had accepted him. Love was a new sensation. But eventually he spent the evenings lying at my feet, his head leaning on my ankle. Now, of course, he romps all over the house. He knows we love him, and he loves us back.
Mary had a similar reaction as I persisted in visiting her. Other people (even her parents) had disappointed her and rejected her, but at last, she realized that I really cared about her. She began to smile a bit and listen more carefully to what I said. Finally, she gave her heart to Jesus. When she tasted real love, it began to soften her heart.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to persevere in showing Your love to those who feel rejected. They may appear unlovely and hopeless to us, but Your love can reach anyone. Pour Your love through us until it conquers every hardened heart we meet. We ask this that Jesus our Saviour may be glorified. Amen.