What is the feeling you have when you see this little guy? Pity? Sadness?
You're probably not feeling relief or contentment.
Here, little Luigi is being "restrained" from running free. That seems bad, right? But if we think of him as being restrained from the dangers of running loose, it is a good thing.
Luigi is in the kennel so he's cared for, not so he can run the streets while his owner is gone.
The dictionary defines restraint as "a way of limiting, controlling, or stopping something." Boo! Who wants to be limited, controlled or stopped? Not us! We want to do what we wish, listen to our feelings, follow our bliss.
The dictionary also defines restraint as "the act of holding something back." Hmmm.....
If we believe in an All-Poweful God, that means God can intervene in areas that are dangerous. Yet tragedies happen. But what if God is restraining His own behavior in order that we experience something deeper. Maybe our physical and mental well being will be threatened, harmed or damaged, but our spiritual health will be enhanced. Maybe that cage we think we're in is for our own safety.
Maybe things aren't always as they appear.
When dogs come to the kennel, I give them the benefit of the doubt that they are a Good Dog until proven otherwise. While that's not always as easy with people, it's a good rule of thumb. While I've had my share of unwelcome events in my life, I can say that ultimately they led to an uncomfortable and even painful stretching of my faith. What we have on earth isn't forever, but what we can't see is.
If we believe in an All-Loving God, we can imagine that Jesus longs to swoop in and spare us pain. He shows restraint when something bigger is at work. If God holds something back from us now, it is only because it is for Our Good and His Glory. It isn't always fun and it isn't always easy. But, it's always good.