Cecil had some books he had read nine million times. However, he loved them so much that he wanted to share them with me, so we often read together. I shared with him my favorites from childhood: “The Pokey Little Puppy,” “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.”
One Sunday afternoon, when we laid down for our nap, I took “The Velveteen Rabbit” to bed with us and read it to Cecil. It is a story about a beautiful plus toy rabbit that is fiercely loved by a child until most of its hair is rubbed off, its eyes are missing, it is loose in the joints, and very, very shabby. Somehow, over time, the child’s fierce love made that little rabbit real.
I couldn’t help but compare myself to the shabby little rabbit. Here I am a new bride at the age of seventy-seven. My hair has thinned, I have had cataract surgery, and my joints don’t always cooperate, but I do work very hard so as not to appear shabby. I told Cecil, like the child and the rabbit, his love had made me real. His love added a new dimension to my life that I had never known before. My short comings didn’t seem to matter anymore.
The little rabbit said, “When you are real, shabbiness doesn’t matter, and you can’t be ugly, except to those who don’t understand.” I like that!
I learned something else from this little book. Becoming real doesn’t happen all at once. YOU BECOME! It takes a long time. “That’s why,” the little rabbit said, “it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.”
Someone has coined the phrase, “The intimate stranger,” simply meaning that I know a lot of people that I do not know at all. I sit near the same people at church every Sunday. We shake hands and smile.
“How are you,” I ask. “Did you have a good week?”
“Oh, I’m fine, and you?”
“Yes, yes, I am well.
If someone asks me, “Do you know Susie Brown?”
I answer, “Oh, yes, I sit beside her at church every Sunday. But do I really know her? Do I know what she loves? Do I know her hopes and dreams? Do I know the problems that she has faced this week? I do not really know Susie, because she keeps all those things to herself, and I have never bothered to draw her out.
Being transparent is a risky business. Being real makes us vulnerable to all kinds of hurts and disappointments and disillusionment.
Many people live in masquerade all their life never daring to allow a look into the depth of their soul. The mask is securely attached keeping our true identity a secret to everyone but God. Sometimes we even believe that we have Him fooled.
It was a child’s fierce love that made that little velveteen rabbit real. Just so, it is love, the love of our Father God that makes us real. Can you imagine a stronger, fiercer love than that demonstrated by God, when He sent His only Son, Jesus?
According to Ephesians 2:1, when you turn from your sins and trust in Christ as your Savior, you finally, for the first time, begin to live. He makes you alive. He makes you real. He’s the only one who can do that.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
This morning, as I opened my Bible to read, I wondered, “What in the world would I do without God?” He has been my life since childhood, and I am still in the process of “becoming real.” It takes a lifetime. I sometimes see older couples, who have been together for so long that they can read each other’s mind, they can finish the other’s sentence, and they actually look alike. That’s what happens when you walk with Jesus. You become more and more like Him, more and more real. For the “realest” you can ever be is to be like Jesus.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says that we must put off the old life and put on the new. I like the way “The Message” says it.
“…everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
This world needs to see a real you. Remember when you are real shabbiness doesn’t matter.
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!