JOY FOR MOURNING
JOY FOR MOURNING
A dog, I thought, always seems to complete a family picture. When our children were young I remember the kids and I pleading with my husband to have one. “No!” He would say repeatedly. No matter how much the children promised to take it for walks and clean up after it, Dale insisted it would end up being his responsibility. Inside my and the children’s hearts, we longed for one, but I didn’t want to go against my husband’s wishes, so I prayed. “Lord, if there is a dog out there that is meant for us, please bring it, and let it be obvious to Dale that this is the dog for our family. Let it win his heart.”
One day, about a year later at a family gathering, our nephew brought one of the last of two pups from their litter. There she sat on the floor. This little fluffy bundle of joy. The children around her were too young to know how to pet nicely, but she just sat there, head down, so humbly letting them ‘pet her’. “What a gentle loving spirit she has,” I thought, “and smart too,” as she slowly snuck away when they weren’t looking. All the way to the end of the room, under the table, then flopped down right on top of Dale’s feet. Perplexed, he looked down to see her, then I knew. She was the one, as I saw him roll his eyes and sigh as soon as he saw her. I could almost see his heart melt right at that moment. “You can’t have her,” our niece said. Someone had already spoken for her. My husband didn’t say anything.
On the way home, we talked about her and how she could have been ‘the one’. “Well, if she’s meant for us she’ll still be there,” I said. Over a week later, I called. “The woman never showed up,” she said. I looked at my husband and asked, “Am I bringing home a puppy today?” He wouldn’t answer, so I repeated the question adding that I would not bring her home without his blessing. “I’m not saying no,” he said.
The Lord had answered my prayer, but with a lesson. I had always tried to convince Dale that we would be the perfect family for a dog, because he worked from home so neither he nor her would be alone, but I also added that I didn’t want a big or black dog because they were kind of scary. Abby, part Shepherd, big and half black, became a part of our family that day and something so amazing happened! Dale fell head over heels for her. So much so that he even enjoyed the responsibility of looking after her.
Something that we thought we wanted no part of became a huge blessing. God knew what was best for us. That was one of the many lessons the Lord would teach us through this furry addition to our family.
I share this with you today because Abby passed away this past weekend from cancer. As we seek the Lord for comfort through the grieving process, we realize that it was He who had planned for us to have her all along. My desire to pray for her was actually planted in my heart by Him, because He knew the blessing she would be to us and how He would use her to grow our faith walk with Him. Her main desire was to please us, but especially Dale her master. When he got up, she got up, when he went outside she followed. He couldn’t go anywhere without her because she was quick to move the moment he would, and it pleased her to do it, because where her master was she wanted to be, and what joy it gave Dale.
Isn’t that a beautiful reflection of the kind of relationship that the Lord desires to have with us? For our main desire just to be wanting to be with Him, in His presence each day? What joy He has in that. The scriptures paint a picture of this kind of relationship with our Master too.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1,2
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Thank You Father for the beautiful gift of Abby and for the precious example she was of a closer walk with You.