Job 1:21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV)
Our dog passed away the Sunday before thanksgiving. Looking back, I see the loving hand of the Lord through the 16 and 1/2 years He blessed us with her. She entered our family during our first year of marriage. And now we’re blessed with fond memories. Exciting times of fresh puppy play. The many lonely days eased by her snuggles as I waited in a foreign country, for my hubby to return from work. The enjoyable hikes through the German woods, where she disappeared for a 1/2 hour. Each time a niggling feeling arose, “what if this time she doesn’t come back?”. But she always did. Tiny Jack Russel with big courage, she wasn’t afraid to take on a ball twice her size. She would swing in the air with determined grip onto the tug rope. Fully grown at 12 pounds, she pulled my hubby up a slight incline on his bike. She even followed me around closer each time I was pregnant, as if she knew before I did.
The Lord definitely used her to grow my reliance on the Spirit. I used to get so frustrated when our kids turned the tap on full, in the back yard. It made a mud bath as she dug directly where the stream pounded the dirt. One day I was cleaning a full glass of milk from the wood floors, and up the cabinet doors. At the same time the faucet drama began in the yard, without an opportunity to stop it at that moment. Completely out of character, I was enabled to surrender my anger to the Lord. An unexplainable peace washed over me, as the Lord conquered my frustration. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Then in the last year as her health declined, losing weight, she frequently walked through her mess and tracked it everywhere during the night. The Lord brought me to a place of thankfulness that I got to clean up for our sweet old G’ma dog. She sill occasionally bounded in the backyard, when she wasn’t bumping into walls with her cataracts.
The quick life of our beloved pet is a blessed reminder that our own bodies are just a tent. Our ailments point to our bodies wearing out and returning to dust. Though this comes with many emotions, the strongest of all is hope in our Living God. The surest hope with the unfailing promise of eternity with our loving God. (2 Corinthians 5:1-8)
Yes, the Lord gives and takes away. Today’s verse reminds us that we arrived on the earth with no physical possessions. Yet, God gave us life, and that gift enough. Most importantly, He gave us eternal life through His Son, Jesus. Nothing surpasses this gift, and nothing lost can take away this precious gift of forgiveness and relationship with our Heavenly Father. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Romans 8:31-39)
God uses all our circumstances for good, to grow us and others in the grace and knowledge of Him. May we always have joy in our refining process. (Romans 8:28, 2 Peter 3:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Lord, enable us each day to surrender more fully to You and Your plan. Adjust our perspective to know joy amid pain. Keep us standing firm on You, our Living Hope, not to be blown around by our circumstances. The good times and the hard, You use it all for Your good purpose. For Your glory, Lord. ~Amen.