Bubba the Bulldog. Bubba came to live with us at the time our son, Jeremy, was quite young; I believe about 3 years old. Jeremy and I had a lot of fun with ol’ Bubba; telling stories of Bubba’s daring days of do, and watching how Bubba interacted with the rest of Jeremy’s stuffed animals.
One of our favorite stories to howl about was one which originated from Bubba’s own fat jowls. We accidentally overheard Bubba telling this story to his friend, Froggo, the bear. The story about how his face came to look like it does.
I’ll try and relate the story to you, as best as I can.
Bubba loved bones! He came from a long line of registered, bone-loving bulldogs. One of his favorite things to do was prance around the neighborhood with a big, old bone hanging out his mouth. You could hear him coming down the sidewalk with the bone bouncing one end off the ground. Clip, clip, bump, clip, clip, bump, as his nails and bone tapped the cement. Clip, clip, bump, clip, clip, bump…
He also had another love, a hobby, actually, an addiction. He loved to chase trucks. Not just any truck, mind you, but garbage trucks! Especially the ones so full they’d leave a trail of garbage everywhere.
One day, however, according to Bubba (whose face “didn’t always look this bad”), he faced a temptation he was not prepared to handle. He was minding his own business, clipping down the sidewalk, clip, clip, bump, clip, clip, bump, when a garbage truck zoomed past him at about 103 miles per hour (per our reliable source). The moment Bubba spotted the garbage bouncing out of the back he took off after it! There was just one, little problem.
He didn’t drop the bone.
To hear Bubba tell the story, it was a sight to behold; a flash of green, with a gray and white blob of color in hot pursuit! Then, just before Bubba was about to claim his prize, the unthinkable happened.
The garbage truck stopped. Abruptly. Without warning (Bubba’s words, not mine).
Without reviewing all of the general laws of physics, let me simply say Bubba’s speed, and his weight, were too much for his legs. He could not get his nails dug into the ground quick enough. Sheer momentum had taken over. Until…
Until the momentum was stopped by the back of the truck.
Funny how that works.
Well, Bubba had no time to react. No, he slammed head first into the back of the truck; bone and all.
It was 4 weeks before you could hear Bubba prancing down the sidewalk, bone in mouth. It took that long to pry the bone out of those fat jowls.
He said he learned his lesson, and further added the Lord had given him a ministry of helping others with garbage truck addictions.
Anyway, time goes on, things change, and little boys grow up.
About 8 or 9 years after Bubba came to live with us, our family decided we’d have a garage sale. The three of us (mom, dad, and Jeremy) all had things we wanted to get rid of.
The day of the sale arrived, and as I looked at Jeremy’s stuff for sale I noticed games, GI Joes, a few other things, and…
What? Not Bubba!
Bubba was for sale! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Bubba was sitting, with that scowling, fat face, on the bench with a sticker on his foot.
Well, I thought, maybe Jeremy is selling Bubba so he’ll have money for college. Made sense to me until I saw the asking price.
I tried to talk Jeremy out of selling part of our family, but I couldn’t stop him. So I did what any upstanding person in my situation would do.
I bought him.
I mean, how could I allow him to fall into the wrong hands? How could I stand to watch an unknown stranger come and walk away with all the memories we had built? How could I bear looking into those beady, little, tear-filled eyes, as he stared at me from his place on the bench.
I just HAD to redeem him.
So I gave Jeremy 75 cents, and Bubba became mine! Then I released him to be a permanent member of our family. No longer did he need to worry about his place in our hearts. He was family. Regardless of good times or bad times, he was part of us.
Redeemed. Bought, purchased, released from bondage.
Released from the bench.
That’s what God did for mankind, through His Son Jesus. We were all up for grabs by the enemy of our soul. Yet God couldn’t bear to see us eternally separated from His family.
There’s nothing we did, or could do, that forced God to do what He did; nothing at all. We were powerless, all alone on the bench.
Jesus took our place as our Redeemer.
“But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 ESV)