Disclaimer: I don’t love any of my rabbits more than the others, despite how this story may sound. All of them have had a special place in my heart, and I treasure every one of them. Now on to the story:
I was recently contemplating the differences between the two first rabbits I owned. That may seem like a bit of a mundane thing to do, a silly pastime with no real value other than amusement. It turned out to be nothing of the sort though, because I found God teaching me all about Himself using my rabbits as examples. I sat there amazed, as I felt God weave a tale of love, fear, and trust that could be applied to my life and others as well.
I saw my first rabbit at a fund-raising event. A rabbit breeder had her there. A tiny, brown, terrified ball of fur, she looked at me with wide eyes I reached down to pet her. It was love at first sight for me. It saddened me to think of how fearful she was of me. I held her for the first time while she hid in the crook of my arm, too afraid to look around. She was definitely a skittish rabbit, but I didn’t mind. I was convinced that with my attention and love, she would learn to trust me. So I went home that night determined to convince my parents of the merits of owning a rabbit.
A few weeks later, I had convinced my father to let me go get her (rather I should say that I begged, pleaded, and gave my dad “puppy dog” eyes until I wore him down). I did my research on rabbit care, and prepared a beautiful, comfy home for my new baby bunny who I called Cinnamon. After bringing her home, she would sit, terrified, in a far corner of her pen. She wouldn’t venture out to explore or see all of the fun things I had gotten for her. She would simply eat, drink, and try to hide. I took pity on her as a baby, and made her a little box she could hide in. She spent practically all her days growing up in that little box. One day, she outgrew the box and had to face the big scary pen she was in. She realized the world outside her box wasn’t so bad after all, and she even enjoyed exploring a bit.
One thing Cinnamon did not ever like was being picked up and held. She would squirm and fight to escape my grip. Sometimes, she would allow me to hold her for a short period of time, but only if she could hide her head in the crook of my arm. Most of the time, it was a huge ordeal to pick her up for any reason. I am looking at a small scar on my wrist as I type this. It was courtesy of one of those times I tried to pick her up. She was so fearful of being dropped, but didn’t realize that she increased my chances of dropping her by struggling so hard in my grasp.
One day, Cinnamon got very sick with an upper respiratory infection. We had liquid antibiotics to feed her, which she hated to take. She hated it because we had to hold her and force her to drink it. She didn’t understand that she would die without the medicine. It was just so unpleasant for her at the time. Once, when I had to give her another dose, I decided to try something. I simply offered her the medicine. Now I wasn’t sure if her tiny rabbit brain could understand what I was offering, but strangely enough she seemed to. I was asking for her trust, and offering her a way out of the fight we were having every day. She came up to me and willingly drank the medicine. She continued to do that for the remaining duration of the time she was sick.
Once she got well, a strange transformation took place. Cinnamon would look at me, not with fear, but with trusting eyes. It was mind-blowing for me. It took her three years, and a bad sickness for her to finally realize that she could trust me. She began to follow me around, even to places she was afraid to go before. She would even permit me to hold her at times. I cherished and treasured her newfound trust. Sadly, she had a stroke and died only a year later. I was beyond heartbroken. My parents immediately took me down to our rabbit breeder to get another rabbit. This time a male bunny with two mischievous brown eyes with a gorgeous gray coat stole my heart.
That rabbit I named Smoky. Where Cinnamon was afraid, Smoky was bold. I didn’t have to worry about picking him up a lot of the time, because he would willingly climb into my lap. He loved spending time with me. He would follow me around and claim me as “his” by rubbing his chin scent all over me. I loved that he was so rambunctious, but he would settle down immediately as soon as I picked him up. He would snuggle up to me, laying his head on my arm, lick my arm, and purr as I petted him. (For those of you who don’t know, rabbits do purr. They grind their teeth together to show their contentment. It can also be how they show pain, but the duration and timing of the tooth grinding is different. Also, most rabbits do not lick people, but they can occasionally as an act of grooming. They have to really like you a lot to do that.)
I had ten beautiful years of memories of love and trust from Smoky before he died of cancer. One of the saddest, but most beautiful memories of trust he gave me was on his way to be put to sleep. He could no longer eat due to a cancerous growth in his mouth. I held him the whole way to the vet’s office. He snuggled with me and purred the whole way, licking my arm periodically to show me his love and affection. He still looked up to me with eyes of trust as I held him as he fell into an eternal sleep. It was one of the most painful memories of my life, and yet it was in a strange way so achingly beautiful.
In reflecting on all of these memories, God showed me how they relate to us as humans and Him as God. I don’t know about you, my dear readers, but I feel like Cinnamon most of the time. I am so fearful, and want to hide as long as I can before I have to face something scary. God wants to bless me with blessings that He prepared for me ahead of time, but I would rather stay in my safe little box and hide from everything I don’t know. When God tries to pick me up to lift me to a higher place, I get fearful, uncomfortable, and try to squirm out of his grasp. Also, I try at times to hide my head, not realizing how ridiculous that is because my whole body is still there lifted up for everyone to see. Hiding from my circumstances doesn’t make them any different. I find I want to be on the ground where it feels safer to me; even though I am so blessed to be in His arms and have His love lavished on me.
How about times of trials? Like when Cinnamon got sick, when trials come, I often try to fight God and His will. He wants to teach me to trust Him, to heal me, to love me through it all, but I don’t want to be in the trial in the first place. Like Cinnamon, I don’t see the danger of fighting God and not “taking my medicine” to become even better and more whole than I was before. I also tend to find that when I do finally surrender to God, and accept what comes my way without complaining and fighting, I see His goodness and learn to trust Him more. Our relationship becomes stronger and more beautiful. I am more willing to follow Him to new places because I know I can trust Him to always be working things out for my good.
I don’t know about you, my dear readers, but I don’t want to waste most of my life being a Cinnamon. I’d rather be a Smoky, loving God wholeheartedly and accepting His love in return. Not just accepting it, but basking in it. Smoky’s face would be pure bliss when I held him. I want to feel that pure bliss when God holds me in His arms. I want to delight in spending time with God. I want to trust Him fully when He picks me up that He will never drop me.
Remember that scar I mentioned earlier from Cinnamon? I acquired it when she tried to jump out of my arms and I tried to stop her. If she would have successfully made that jump, she would have injured herself badly. So I had held on tight and acquired some pretty nasty scratches in order to prevent her fall. I wish I could always see the danger of trying to escape from God’s arms. Also, what about God? How we must wound Him when He is trying to protect us and we struggle instead to get out of His loving grasp!
God used Cinnamon and Smoky to open my eyes and teach me so much about myself and about how I relate to God. I know I want a long, fulfilling life of snuggling close to God like Smoky snuggled close to me. I want to not be afraid like Cinnamon was most of her life. I want to go where God leads. I want to trust that He always knows best. I want to bask in His love. I want to love Him in return. Just like Smoky, I want to get to the end of my life still trusting God despite of everything. I want to be able to relax in His loving arms as He prepares me to meet Him face to face. And I want to close my eyes with love and trust as He carries me home to be with Him for eternity.
Hello again my fellow APer's! This is a rough draft, so I expect mistakes. I wrote this in about an hour and didn't really get a chance to proofread it. I just wanted to get this story out of my head on to paper. Hope you all enjoy it! Blessings to all of you!