I sat on the stairs on Tuesday feeling grumpy. It had been a long, busy and frustrating day at work, and my back was aching.
Lord, I know I haven’t spent time with You today but I don’t feel up to it right now. I just want to collapse and read. We’ll spend time tomorrow, I promise.
But I couldn’t just collapse and read as I longed to do because of a small furry visitor called Truffles. This was his usual play time, a chance to get out of his hutch and enjoy a little freedom. He’d be expecting to play and I couldn’t let him down.
I opened the hutch door and began rolling his current favourite toy around to entice him out: a wooden ball containing a bell. There’s normally an immediate response but not on Tuesday night.
Truffles sat in his hutch ignoring me.
So I sat on the stairs trying to read and keeping an eye out in case he changed his mind. I was hopeful; playing with Truffles is a fun part of the day.
Why is he sitting in his hutch? Silly bunny…. it’s a lot better for him out here. I’m sat here waiting for him and we always have fun. So why is he stuck in his hutch?
Then it hit me.
I was like Truffles. The door was open with a better invitation and here I was sat in my circumstances refusing to meet with the Lord because I didn’t ‘feel up to it’.
Then I heard the gentle invitation to ‘come’.
With a sheepish smile, I got up and went to get my Bible. Jesus and I enjoyed some time together; my achey back eased and the frustrations disappeared as I saw them for what they were: small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Feeling tonnes better – refreshed and restored – I went back downstairs. And Truffles and I played together.
My piggies’ favourite thing in the world was to play in long grass on a sunny day. The second they heard me moving their run to a fresh patch in the back garden, all eight of them set up loud squeaks and squeals of excitement. They could barely keep still in my arms as I lifted them carefully from hutch to run. As soon as they landed on the grass, they raced around before settling in for a day of contended grazing.
Another favourite activity was having the run of our long living room. Once they had gotten over being in such a spacious place, I delighted in watching as they celebrated their freedom: racing around in circles and bunny hopping across the carpet.
They had simple faith in me to meet their needs. So long as the fresh broccoli and carrot came their way every morning along with dry food and water, they were content. But having their freedom was cause for celebration and, boy, did they know how to do it.
Jesus bought my freedom 2,000 years ago. When I get trapped inside a hutch of my own making, He is always willing to open the door and set me free. Over and over again.
Today I’m celebrating freedom in Christ.
I love looking after my friends’ rabbits and guinea pigs when they go on holiday. Truffles the rabbit is a regular visitor at Hotel Mandy and stays for a few weeks every summer. We are good friends now though it takes him a couple of days to settle in. At first, he is hesitant and clings to the familiar safety of his hutch. I open the door and try to coax him out, longing to fuss over him and have a game. He stares at me. Then, with all four paws firmly rooted in the sawdust, he stretches his head towards me, ready to withdraw immediately if I make a sudden movement. Soon, his front paws appear on the edge of the door and then I know it won’t be long before he jumps out and submits to having his ears and cheeks stroked (which he loves). For me, the best part is when Truffles suddenly starts racing around the carpet bunny hopping for sheer joy at his freedom.
Truffles reminds me of my friendship with God. I chose to follow Jesus while still in junior school. I quickly began serving in the church and in a Christian youth group, but I experienced no real joy or peace. If you had asked me what I believed, I would have said that God loved me and that He’d sent Jesus to die for me to take the punishment for the wrong things I had done. But what I actually believed in my heart was more: Jesus felt sorry for me and died for me but God was still angry with me so I had to work my socks off to try and earn His favour. I made life all about me rather than all about Jesus. The problem was that I didn’t really believe that God was who He said He was, or that I was who He said I was.
Thank God He loved me far too much to leave me in that state. In 2009, God led Adi and me to Grace Church where we were baptised in the Spirit. Things slowly began to change until last summer Bible truths I’d never understood before finally began to click. God has always loved me. He created me because He wanted me to be part of His Family. He isn’t angry with me. Jesus died for me so that His Dad could adopt me. I’ve been rescued out of the enemy’s domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son Jesus. (Woo hooo hooo!!!)
My life with God began with me stuck in a hutch, imprisoned by the enemy’s lies. God had opened my hutch door and beckoned me out to freedom. It took thirty-odd years of me looking at God and wondering if He really was who He said He was and if I was who He said I was. For three decades it looked attractive – oh desperately attractive – but unattainable. Then I started craning my neck for a better look. Could God be trusted?
To experience God and all that He has for me, I had to make that leap out of the hutch. As soon as I believed that He is who He says He is and that I am who He says I am – that I’m His adopted daughter, a princess in His Kingdom, a joint heir of spiritual blessings with Jesus, someone He delights in and ‘woo hoos!’ over – I began to know increasing peace and joy in my life.
As I laugh aloud and love to see Truffles bunny hopping for sheer joy in his freedom, I am positive that God laughs with me and rejoices over me as I enjoy more and more of the freedom Jesus paid such a high price to give me. I relish my friendship with God and the complete security I have in Him.