When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was about a pig that had a special wallowing hole. The farmer’s wife thought the pig’s mudhole was messy, though, so she cleaned it up (vacuumed it up–I loved that picture), and the pig ran away in search of a new wallowing hole. He hitched a ride on a passing truck and ended up in the city. When he saw some fresh cement, he thought it looked like mud and dove right in. Of course, pretty soon, it hardened, and he was stuck. Being a children’s book, though, the farmer’s wife realized the error of her ways and went looking for the pig. She and the farmer broke him out of the cement and took him home to his restored mudhole.
And the pig lived happily ever after.
I thought of that book today because I was pondering the word “wallow.” In my last post, I confessed that I often wallow in guilt—sometimes shame, other times pride, insecurity, jealousy… We humans wallow in all kinds of things that end up holding us prisoner—like the pig in the cement.
But what if we wallowed in God’s love? It’s big enough. Scripture speaks of it having vast height and depth and width and length. We are told to be rooted deep and grounded in love. God’s love is called great and wonderful and intense (Eph. 2:4 and 3:17-19, Amplified). Whenever I read the verse about the height/depth/width/length, I think of the Olympic-sized swimming pool I took lessons at when I was a kid. I was little, so it seemed HUGE! I could go down, down, down till my ears popped, I could twirl in the water, I could splash and jump. I could float, buoyed by water molecules. I could dive in and not hit bottom. I could try as hard as anything to swim underwater from one end to the other on one breath and not ever succeed (that changed as I grew older).
Wallowing is essential for pigs. They can’t sweat, and the coating of mud keeps them from overheating.
God’s love is not only essential for me, too, but keeps me from “overheating as well.” When I am busy “wallowing” in His love for me, discovering greater depths and breadths of it, “exultingly glorying” in it (that’s from the Amplified version of Romans 5:11), it keeps me from getting “overheated” by stress or anxiety or troubles. It also decreases my desire to “wallow” in anything else.
I wondered if there were any other reasons pigs wallowed, so I Googled the question: “Why do pigs wallow in mud?” Of course, I got multiple answers about their lack of sweating, but some scientists suggest that they do it in part because they enjoy it. It makes them happy!
This is true for us in relation to God’s love: what is GOOD and necessary for us is also enjoyable!
So, applying this to God’s love, I could paraphrase Paul’s words in Ephesians: Dive into the mudbath of God’s love. Let it get all over you, head to toe, soothing any sores. Let it seep into your heart, filling every crack and crevice, every wounded part. Don’t clean it off. Give each other messy hugs, so that your mudbath spreads to someone else—and theirs spreads to you. Roll around in it regularly; don’t let it grow dry and hard. Better yet, stay in it!