It had been one of those lovely wooded walks, completed with unexpected rainfall and muddy puddles. Our dog Jack was all smiles as he zoomed one way, back another, jumping over logs, attempting to drag a few home, and never missing any opportunity to go ker-plooosh through a muddy puddle. Some of my happiest moments are watching Jack run and jump, curly tail up, white teeth glowing in his open mouth, waggly tongue smile.
Then we get home. Then it’s time to wash away the mud. Then he needs to be towel dried thoroughly from head to toe. Then we have treats! Jack generally likes the towel drying but the washing mud away isn’t his favorite thing. He is often pulling away, me holding tight to his collar, trying to get the dirty task done. However, this time there was something different. I began the wash. Jack began to pull away. “Jack, you’re not helping yourself,” I said, “Just be still. You’ll feel better.” As if in total understanding, Jack not only stood still, but he looked at me so sweetly and then — he leaned his muddy self fully onto me — content as could be.
For a split second I thought, Oh no! Muddy me! But then, seeing his adoring eyes locked on mine, I leaned into him, too, helping to steady him from falling over from my vigorous washing of him all over. When he was finally clean and dry I let him go. He went bounding down the hall to see my mother, as if to relay to her the morning’s adventures.
I kept thinking about Jack leaning into me, mud and all, and how it really didn’t’ bother me. It endeared him to me even more. Then the verse, James 4:8, popped into my thoughts. “Come close to God and God will come close to you.” I have always looked at that verse as one of comfort for myself, that drawing close to God would be an action of consolation for me. I never really thought about the part that says, “God will also come close to me.” Something clicked in my brain then. I understood in a fresh light. Just as I felt tenderness and affection toward Jack when he leaned his muddy self into me, God feels the same about me when I come to Him needing forgiveness and cleansing. I can trust His love and care. I can come as I am, knowing that as we lean into each other, He is lovingly washing me and drying me, so that like Jack, I may go bounding happily away to share tales of my muddy and cleansing adventures with others.
Are you muddy today? Go ahead, lean into God. He’ll lean into you, too, and happily wash you all over.