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The Father Heart of God

What it means that God has a long fuse, a short memory, thick skin, and a big heart.

Do you remember the pig craze of the 1980s? People shelled out thousands of dollars to own one of these exotic house pets imported from Vietnam. Their breeders claimed these were quite smart and would grow to a weight of only forty pounds. Well, they were half right. The pigs were smart. They could be trained to walk using leashes, do tricks, and use a litter box. But they had a tendency to grow to about 150 pounds and could become quite aggressive.

What do people do with an unwanted pig? Pig roasts are not the answer; their meat is tough, stringy and marbled with fat.

Fortunately, Dale Riffle came to the rescue. Someone had given Riffle one of these pigs, and he fell in love with it. The pig, Rufus, never learned to use its litter box, and developed this craving for carpets and wallpaper and drywall. Yet Riffle sold his suburban home, and he moved with Rufus to a farm in West Virginia. Then he started taking in other unwanted pigs. And before long, the guy was living, literally, in hog heaven.

There are currently 180 residents on his farm. According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, they snooze on beds of pine shavings. They wallow in mud puddles. They soak in plastic swimming pools and listen to classical music. They wait their turn for one of Dale Riffle's belly rubs. They socialize in affinity groups. And they never need fear that one day they'll become bacon or pork chops. There's actually a waiting list of unwanted pigs that are trying to get a hoof in the door at Riffle's farm.

Dale Riffle told the reporter, "I think we're all put on earth for some reason, and I guess pigs are my lot in life." How could anybody in his right mind fall so totally in love with pigs?

I'll tell ...

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Jim Nicodem is founder and pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois.

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