A Meaningful Story

collie dog running

Photo source: dogtime.com

This is a passage from a book called A Severe Mercy written by History and English language professor Sheldon Vanauken and friend of C.S.Lewis.

Here’s what it says. This is my translation from Romanian (the language I’ve read the book in) so please excuse the simplistic use of language.

”Gypsy, a wheat-coloured collie dog, has found itself in the possession of hundreds of acres of hills and forests, full of wondrous things such as paths tread by rabbits, springs and holes in the trees, and all these things were very thrilling. She had a roof above her head and plenty of food. Maybe she came to take all these things for granted. Her duties were few and not very difficult. More precisely, she had to adore her Master and enjoy his company. She knew she wasn’t allowed to chase the chickens. So it’s fair to say that she had to obey certain commands- to follow her Master, to come when she was called- all these being reasonable, and she wasn’t allowed to use any tricks. After all, it is in a dog’s nature to adore its Master.

There came a day, however, when while Gypsy was prowling on the far hills, beyond the garden, two things have happened: The Master called her name and a rabbit ran across the field. Gypsy started running towards her Master, as she’s always done.

But then she stopped. And thought that she didn’t have to obey her Master.

Maybe her Master didn’t understand how things work with rabbits. After all, those were her hills, right? The rabbit was hers as well. It was very possible that many of the things she knew, the way she knew them, were lies- including the story that everything around her, herself included, belonged to the Master. How could she know that the food in her plate has come from His Hand? There could have been a natural explanation. She was a free dog and that was the end of it. These thoughts crossed her mind while she waited, not knowing what to do. She heard the Master’s command again, the rabbit ran across the field. Gypsy turned around and started chasing the rabbit. Her choice was made. She was free to choose.

After a few hours, she came back home. She saw the Master waiting for her, but she didn’t leap for joy as she used to. Something new has come up in her behaviour: the feeling of guilt. So she advanced towards him, on her belly, like a snake. In that moment, she was certainly regretting her decision. But now she was also possessing a new type of knowledge- the possibility of sinning. Anyway, she was very obedient the next day and the day after. However, eventually, another rabbit appeared- and this time, she didn’t even hesitate. Soon, the only possibility that remained was that of chasing the rabbit. After which, she completely abandoned the rabbit and followed her own path.

The Master never ceased to love her but he could no longer trust her. After a while, she ended up living in an enclosed yard and was taken for a walk on a lead. All her true freedom has vanished.

But every now and again, the Master was granting her the chance to be obedient, willingly. If she chose to be obey, she would once again have the freedom to run across the hills that stood before her, seemingly unending.

But she never went back to being obedient. She was always choosing to run if she wasn’t around the Master. Knowing that hunger will bring her back home, the Master was allowing her to run away. He could have stopped her: the gun leaned against his shoulder and with one deafening bang, he could have put an end to her rebellion. But, as long as she was alive, she could still choose to be obedient which actually is true freedom. 

One day, Gypsy and her pup, Flurry, were brought to the edge of a forest. Gypsy has always manifested her disobedience between the boundaries of her hills. However, now, coming back to the car, she felt the old excitement. She turned around and ran away. The Master called her with a note of urgency in his voice. Flurry, as well-behaved as always, returned immediately. Gypsy, completely ignoring her Master’s signals, continued running through the dark forest. After looking for her and calling her for hours, the Master has abandoned the dog with much sadness, and returned home having Flurry alone.

Here, Flurry continued to live and enjoy the freedom granted by obedience. She was so happy to be with her Master and so glad when she was doing something that pleased him.

She knew that she was enjoying a perfect type of freedom as long as she was serving Him. She was obeying him gladly and willingly.

But Gypsy, the wandering dog, if still alive, would be running across paths and forest like an outlaw. She got dirtier and dirtier and her fur was full of thistles. Undoubtedly, some were  throwing stones at her without a doubt and she was often hungry but she no longer knew how to find the way back home. If she had pups, these too as well as their pups wouldn’t have been aware of how to find the way back home and this would be because of their mother’s dangerous proneness to disobedience, which has most certainly contaminated them too; and the gentle Hand of the master was something they’ve only heard about from stories.

And that was what Gypsy chose on Rabbit’s Day and she has continued to choose the same thing until, suddenly, any possibility of choosing has vanished.”

I’ve chosen to highlight this passage from what is one of my favourite books because it explains so well the relationship between God and us and the misunderstood concept of obedience and what this implies.


O Poveste Cu Tâlc

collie dog running

Sursa imaginii: dogtime.com

Acesta este un extract din cartea ”Indurare Aspra” al lui Sheldon Vanauken, un profesor universitar american si un bun prieten de a lui C.S. Lewis.

Iata ce spune ea:

”Gypsy, o catelusa collie cu blana mare, sura, s-a pomenit in posesia a sute de acri de dealuri si paduri, pline de minunatii cum erau potecile facute de urmele iepurilor, izvoarele, scorburile si toate o incantau peste masura. Avea un culcus moale si hrana la discretie. Poate a crezut ca toate i se cuveneau de drept. Obligatiile ei erau putine si nu foarte grele. Mai precis, trebuia sa-si venereze Stapanul si sa se bucure de tovarasia Lui. Stia ca nu are voie sa vaneze puii de gaina. E drept ca trebuia sa se suspuna unor porunci- sa-si urmeze stapanul, sa vina cand era strigata- toate fiind in limitele rezonabilului, si nu avea voie sa recurga la nici un fel de smecherii. In fond, venerarea stapanului si supunerea erau trasaturi specifice unui caine.

A venit totusi, o zi cand, in vreme ce Gypsy cutreiera dupa prada pe dealul de dincolo de gradina si de pajiste, s-au intamplat deodata doua lucruri: Stapanul a strigat-o si un iepure a trecut in goana peste deal. Gypsy s-a pus in miscare si a pornit spre stapan, asa cum facuse intotdeauna.

Apoi s-a oprit. Si s-a gandit ca nu era obligata sa se supuna.

Poate ca Stapanul nu intelegea cum stau lucrurile cu iepurele. In definitiv, acelea erau dealurile ei, nu? Iepurele era tot al ei. Foarte posibil ca multe din lucrurile pe care le stia, asa cum le stia, erau minciuni- inclusiv povestea ca tot ce era in jur si ea insasi ii apartineau Stapanului. De unde stia ea ca mancarea din farfurie vine din Mana Lui? – Probabil exista o explicatie fireasca. Ea era un caine liber si cu asta, basta. Aceste ganduri i-au trecut ca fulgerul prin minte in vreme ce statea locului, nestiind ce sa faca.Se auzi din nou porunca Stapanului; iepurele trecu peste coama dealului. Gypsy se rasuci si porni ca o sageata dupa iepure. Alegerea ei fusese facuta. Era libera sa aleaga.

Dupa cateva ore se intoarse acasa. Il vazu pe Stapan asteptand-o, dar nu se avanta bucuroasa inspre el, sarind si facand tumbe ca altadata. Intervenise ceva nou in comportamentul ei: vinovatia. Se tari spre el pe pantece, ca un sarpe. Fara indoiala, in clipa aceea, isi regreta fapta. Dar acum poseda o noua cunoastere- aceea ca exista posibilitatea pacatului. In orice caz, a fost foarte ascultatoare a doua zi si in ziua care a urmat. In cele din urma, totusi, a aparut un alt iepure- si de data asta nici macar n-a ezitat. Curand, a ramas doar posibilitatea de a vana iepurele. Dupa care a abandonat cu totul iepurele si a mers pe drumul ei.

Stapanul n-a incetat s-o iubeasca, dar nu mai avea incredere in ea. Cu timpul a ajuns sa locuiasca intr-o curte imprejmuita si mergea la plimbare doar cu lesa de gat. Toata libertatea ei adevarata disparuse.

Dar, din cand in cand, Stapanul ii dadea sansa sa asculte din nou, de buna voie. Daca alegea sa asculte, avea din nou libertatea totala de a hoinari pe dealurile ce se intindeau, nesfarsite parca, inaintea ei.

Dar nu s-a mai intors la ascultare. Mereu alegea sa fuga, daca nu era in preajma Stapanului. Stiind ca foamea o va aduce in cele din urma in curtea ei, Stapanul o lasa sa fuga. Ar fi putut sa o opreasca: pusca statea rezemata intr-un colt si ar fi putut, cu un singur pocnet asurzitor, sa puna capat revoltei ei. Dar, atata timp cat traia, putea sa se intoarca la ascultare, putea sa aleaga ascultarea care insemna de fapt adevarata libertate.

Intr-o zi, in timpul unei calatorii cu masina, Gypsy si micul ei pui, Flurry, au fost duse la marginea unei paduri. Gypsy isi manifestase intotdeauna neascultarea doar intre limitele dealurilor ei. Acum insa, venind inapoi spre masina, a simtit dintr-odata vechiul fior de incantare. S-a intors si a luat-o la fuga. Stapanul a strigat-o cu o nota de urgenta in glas. Flurry, cu buna-crestere care o caracterizase dintotdeauna, a venit de indata. Gypsy, insensibila la semnalele Stapanului, si-a continuat alergarea prin padurea intunecata. Dupa ce a cautat-o si strigat-o ore in sir, Stapanul a abandonat cu tristete catelusa pierduta si, avand-o doar pe Flurry alaturi, s-a intors acasa.

Aici, Flurry a continuat sa isi duca traiul in libertatea data de supunere. Era atat de bucuroasa sa fie cu Stapanul ei si atat de vesela cand facea un lucru care-i placea lui.

Stia ca se bucura de o libertate desavarsita cata vreme se afla in slujba lui. Se supunea cu draga inima si de bunavoie.

Dar Gypsy, catelusa ratacita, cutreiera, daca mai traia, padurile si drumurile ca o proscrisa. S-a murdarit tot mai tare si blana i s-a umplut de scaieti. Nu incape indoiala ca unii mai aruncau si cu pietre in ea si nu de putine ori rabda foame, dar nu mai stia cum sa gaseasca drumul spre casa. Daca avea pui, nici acestia si nici puii acestora nu mai stiau cum sa gaseasca drumul spre acasa si asta fiindca inclinatia primejdioasa spre neascultare a lui Gypsy ii contaminase cu siguranta si pe ei; iar mana mangaietoare a Stapanului ramanea pentru ei ceva ce nu cunosteau decat din povesti.

Asa a ales Gypsy in ziua Iepurelui si a continuat sa aleaga la fel pana cand, brusc, a incetat orice posibilitate de a mai alege.”

Am ales sa evidentiez aceast pasaj deoarece creioneaza foarte bine raportul dintre noi si Dumnezeu precum si beneficiile ascultarii.

Aceasta povestire se gaseste pe paginile 136, 137 si 138 ale cartii mentionate mai sus, o scriere autobiografica pe care o recomand tuturor iubitorilor de literatura.





The first thing that God would like to say to you

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‘’The LORD appeared to Israel from far away and said, “I’ve loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I’ve drawn you with gracious love.’’ Jeremiah 31:3

A Romanian actor was once asked what he would tell God if (or rather when) he will meet Him. The actor replied ‘’I wouldn’t tell him anything. He knows everything…’’ But whether you have something to say to God or not, He definitely has a message for you. The first thing that God wants to tell you, regardless of your current situation, is that He loves you. This is the first truth that we come to understand once we draw near to Him. The next one is that we need to change…

‘’The Lord appeared to Israel (as He could to you) from far away…’’- we might be far from God at the moment, very unaware of His existence or presence. We might have heard of Him but we never met Him, we’ve heard things about Him but we don’t know Him. Regardless of where we are, be it near or far, God’s message for us is the same. The first thing He would like to tell us is that He loves us.

And this is an altogether wonderful and surprising fact, given our sinfulness and His holiness. But the grounds for His love for us aren’t our merits, character or blameless behavior. He loves because that is His nature and because He made us and we are His, whether we know Him or not. We belong to Him.

But because He loves us, God wants to change us. He wants us to reach the heights of His Son’s stature, morally and spiritually. He wants us to become the best version of ourselves that we can ever be, which is exactly what any good parent wants for his/her child.

The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the most solid proof of this love – for He who loves much is willing to sacrifice much. Heaven’s greatest Treasure was sacrificed for us so that we may be saved and forgiven. The Lord Jesus has paid the price of our sin, once and for all, and through Him we have free access to the Father.

Let us then rest on the arms of The Everlasting Father who loves us, not just collectively, but individually. He loves you Sam, Andreea, Dana… He loves you all in a way that no one could ever love – HE LOVES YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE.

Primul lucru pe care ni-l spune Dumnezeu

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‘’Domnul mi se arata de departe : Te iubesc cu o iubire vesnica, de accea iti pastrez bunatatea Mea !’’ Ieremia 31 :3

Un actor roman a fost odata intrebat ce i-ar spune lui Dumnezeu daca sau, mai degraba, cand il va intalni. Acesta a raspuns : ‘’Nu i-as spune nimic… El stie totul.’’ Fie ca avem sau nu un gand pentru Dumnezeu in inima noastra, El cu siguranta are un mesaj pentru noi. Si primul lucru pe care Dumnezeu vrea sa ni-l spuna, atat cat suntem pe pamantul acesta, esta ca, indiferent de starea noastra actuala, El ne iubeste. Acesta este primul lucru pe care il descoperim atunci cand ne apropiem de El.

‘’Domnul mi se arata de departe’’- adica s-ar putea ca noi sa fim foarte putin constienti de existenta sau prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Poate nu il cunoastem decat foarte putin sau deloc. Poate doar am auzit despre El, dar nu ne-am apropiat niciodata. In alte cuvinte, suntem inca departe. Totusi, primul lucru pe care ni-l spune Dumnezeu este ca ne iubeste.

Acesta este un lucru cu totul surprinzator si minunat, tinand cont de pacatosenia noastra si de sfintenia Lui. Un Dumnezeu sfant iubeste niste oameni pacatosi. Evident, fundamentul dragostei lui Dumnezeu nu sunt meritele noastre. El nu ne iubeste pentru ca suntem buni (cine este cu desavarsire bun decat Domnul Isus, Dumnezeu din Dumnezeu Adevarat, Fiul lui Dumnezeu) sau pentru ca am merita. Dumnezeu ne iubeste pentru ca El este un Dumnezeu iubitor, pentru ca El ne-a creat si pentru ca suntem ai  Lui.

Dar pentru ca ne iubeste, Dumnezeu vrea sa ne schimbe. El doreste sa devenim cea mai buna versiune a noastra, sa ajungem, ca nivel moral si spiritual, la statura plinatatii lui Hristos. Exact ce isi doreste orice parinte bun pentru copilul Sau.

Rastignirea Domnului Isus este dovada cea mai clara a acestei iubiri- caci cine iubeste mult, jertfeste mult. Iar pentru noi s-a jerftit Odorul Cerului, Fiul lui Dumnezeu, care pe cruce a luat asupra Sa plata pacatelor noastre. Doar prin El avem mantuirea si acces liber la Tatal.

Sa ne rezemam dar, pe bratul Parintelui Vesniciilor care ne iubeste, nu doar asa, colectiv, pe toti laolalta, ci individual. Te iubeste pe tine, Andreea, Ioana, Vlad,  Petre etc, asa cum nimeni, niciodata, nu te-ar putea iubi- CU O IUBIRE VESNICA.

Daca Dumnezeu exista atunci de ce nu-L putem vedea?

IMG_20141221_020052Pentru ca ne aflam in preajma Sarbatorilor de iarna si pentru ca acum, mai mult ca in restul anului, ne gandim la evenimentul din Betleem si la legatura lui cu divinitatea, m-am gandit sa scriu un articol pe acesta tema.

Subiectul lui nu este despre Craciun per se, dar are o puternica legatura cu Craciunul. Caci daca existenta lui Dumnezeu are inca un semn de intrebare in mintile noastre, atunci cum am putea intelege semnificatia primului dar de Craciun (Mesia), si cum am putea sa ne bucuram de acest dar pe deplin?

Intrebarea formulata in titlul articolului este una foarte pertinenta. Intr-adevar, daca Dumnezeu exista de ce nu este El vizibil ochilor nostri (fizici)? Sau, mai bine zis, de ce nu se face vizibil noua? Nu ar fi mai usor daca Dumnezeu ar aparea in toata slava Lui iar noi am putea astfel cunoaste ca El exista? Atunci ne-am pleca inaintea Lui si i-am recunoaste Prezenta.

Cu siguranta, ar fi mai usor pentru Dumnezeu sa procedeze astfel, insa nu ar fi si mai bine. Cand ne gandim la Dumnezeu- indiferent de credinta noastra sau de lipsa ei- noi Il vedem ca pe un Judecator, reprezentand Autoritatea cea mai inalta din Univers. Si nu este gresit sa gandim asa, insa Dumnezeu nu este doar atat. El este si un Tata. El este Dragoste.

Dragostea nu forteaza, dragostea nu se impune. Dragostea este blanda. Ascunzandu-si Prezenta (fizica) de ochii nostri, Dumnezeu se arata bland fata de noi. De ce? Pentru ca daca Dumnezeu ar alege sa ridice cortina si sa ni se dezvaluie noua, in toata gloria Lui, fiintele noastre mici si limitate ar fi coplesite si foarte speriate de aceasta aparitie. Da, ne-am pleca si inchina inaintea Lui dar in acelasi timp, am vrea sa fugim si sa ne ascundem. Ca si pasarile care, atunci cand ne apropiem de ele, noi, oameni mult mai mari si ma puternici decat ele, se sperie si isi iau zborul, asa am reactiona si noi. Am fugi de El in loc sa alergam inspre El.

Nu am putea simti dragoste si afectiune pentru Dumnezeu pentru ca am fi mult prea terifiati de o aparitie atat de neobisnuita, de neasteptata si de maiestoasa. Ne-ar fi foarte dificil, daca nu imposibil, sa interactionam cu El, noi atat de mici, iar El atat de mare.

Asa ca Dumnezeu a decis sa ramana in spatele cortinei si in loc sa ne forteze sa credem in El, a ales sa ne castige inimile si mintile printr-un proces mult mai complex dar care ne castiga dragostea. De aceea a ales sa ni se faca cunoscut printr-un staul, un prunc, niste pastori si o stea. Nu e nimic infricosator in aceste lucruri, din contra. Sunt elemente din aceasta lume menite sa transmita un mesaj locuitorilor acestei lumi.

Dumnezeu ne-a trimis un Mantuitor care a venit pe pamant, nu in Gloria pe care o avea ca Fiu de Dumnezeu, ci ca un prunc nascut intr-un staul umil din Betleem. El, Fratele nostru mai mare, a fost trimis de Tatal ca sa ne aduca acasa.

Asa ca, va rog opriti-va anul acesta la staul, deschizandu-va inimile si mintile catre Dumnezeu. Macar pentru o clipa.

Sarbatori Fericite si Dumnezeu sa va dea Harul Sau si in 2015!


If God exists then why can’t we see Him?

IMG_20141221_020052I haven’t had the chance (or the time or the energy) to post something on this blog but since it’ll soon be Christmas and the topic of ”God and ”Jesus” is being brought up quite frequently, I thought it’s a good time to put ‘pen to paper’.

The topic that I am going to address is not Christmassy per se but it’s got a few elements in common with this celebration.

The question formulated in the title of this post is very pertinent. Indeed, if God is out there then why isn’t He visible? Or better said, why doesn’t He make Himself visible to us? Why doesn’t God just appear in all His glory so that we can all know that He exists? Then we would bow down and acknowledge His Presence.

Well, it would be easier for God to do this in order to convince us of His existence but it definitely wouldn’t be better. When we think of God- regardless of our religious beliefs or lack of-  we associate Him with a Judge and with the Highest Authority there is in the Universe. And while He is a Judge and the ultimate Authority, He is also a Father. He is also Love.

Love isn’t forceful, love doesn’t overpower. Love is gentle. By not revealing Himself to us- physically- God is actually being gentle towards us. If He appeared from Heaven (like His Son one day will), our little minds and small beings would be utterly frightened and terrified by such a powerful Presence! Yes, we would bow down to Him but we would also want to run away and hide. Just like birds flying away when people approach them because the latter are much bigger and more powerful than them- so would we want to do if God was to appear in an instant.

We would not feel love or affection towards Him. Instead, we would be frightened. It would be difficult (if not impossible) for us to relate to Him.

So God decided to stay behind the scenes and win our minds and hearts through a more complex, complicated process instead of forcing us to believe yet not love Him.

That’s why we’ve got a stable, a baby, some shepherds and a star. Because God chose to relate to us in a way that we could understand, that we could cope with. There is nothing scary about a baby, sheep and shepherds. They’re elements from this world meant to carry a message for people from this world.

God sent us a Redeemer that came, not crowned with Glory, but as a baby, born in a humble stable in Bethlehem. He, the older Brother, was sent by the Father to bring us home.

So would you stop by the stable this year and open your heart and mind to God? At least for a moment.

God bless and Happy Christmas.