The Grace of the Missing Dog

2nd Corinthians 12:8-10

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“I got this. No problem.” Do you ever feel this way? The neighborhood cat Daisy triggered our Rascal dog to totally forget the wishes of his owners.

We were walking Rascal in the neighborhood when suddenly, I saw a flash of fur ahead of us in the near distance. Before I could react, the leash flew out of my hands with a big sudden jerk, trailing behind a disappearing Rascal around the corner of a house chasing Daisy…scared for her life. He’s loose!

A deep wrench of “why didn’t you” flashed before me as I ran with heart thumping …Why hadn’t I had a stronger grip on his leash. I clearly did not “have this” and there was a problem! Rascal is gone! Why, Why, why…

A busy street lay just ahead of Rascal’s disappearing tail. Roger disappeared around the other side of the house in an attempt to head him off. No such luck.  As I ran, I prayed that Rascal would be found safe from danger away from the busy road in front of the house and Rascal would return to us.  I caught my breath at the front of the house and surveyed the landscape with an eerie pause in time.

When time picked up again and I returned to the present, I saw Roger across the busy street and heard him yelling to me. “I see him! Rascal, come here”. A splash of light brown tail disappeared as an oops-I-forgot look appeared on Rascal’s face. He finally heard our voices, stopped dead in his tracks and faced us as Daisy disappeared behind the house.

Rascal cautiously approached Roger, much like us one of us might feel after being caught with a hand stuck in the forbidden cookie jar. Rascal slowly dipped his head, tentatively wagged his tail, bowing deeply as if asking for some compassion and understanding.

As this contrition unfolded, my heart reawakened me to how our loving God welcomes us as we truly observe our weaknesses in what we are doing to ourselves and others. Our thoughtless actions, our judgement and blame of others for hardships exhibit our human frailty in the way we forget how to put others first with Christ’s Love. I saw something beautiful happen in seeing the world through my husband’s eyes.

In the manner of Christ, he saw our forgetful, cat-chasing Rascal and felt his pup’s shaking, panting body.  Rascal’s tail immediately wagged faster and he smiled. Rascal leaned into Roger and seemed to breathe easier as his leash was picked up. “Rascal! You heard my voice and came back to me when I called.” He was Home, loved in His master’s arms.

Later, as we rested, I felt such gratitude and love as Rascal jumped up and nestled close between us with a sigh.  I reached out to pet his soft curly fur, he looked up, ears flopping open with deep, soft brown eyes melting into mine… I felt God’s Love whispering, I Love you. You are Mine.

Yes. We can say “I got this! No problem.“ But do we?  Our Savior says, “Come to me. I Love you. No matter what, I will surround you with my Love and strengthen you throughout your life. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not our power, but His holds us.

My challenge to you:

Go into Scriptures as Corinthians 1 chapter 13 and read it twice daily. Learn what our Lord Jesus did and what we must do. Pray ceaselessly giving God praise and worshiping him. Come back home to Christ.

© 2021 Bonnie Louise Smith-Davis

Kitchen Chair Love

Bonnie, Buddy and Blake

For as 1 John 4:19 tells us, “we love because he first loved us.” It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love.

The truth is that what we “see” is not what is visible to the heart. You can’t make an animal love you. For example, this photo of our animals shows love profoundly in my heart. The newspaper explains what the world might have seen as very important at the time. The headline blares out words of “this is something that you must know”.

My dear Buddy dog and Blake cat are focused on what is important to them. I look at their eyes. Seeing through their eyes, Blake is looking at the “world” around them…the kitchen, the food on the table, the next fun thing for him to do. Buddy focuses on Roger, my husband, and the photographer. He immediately loved and wanted to rescue Buddy from the “pound”. Roger saw what was beautiful inside of this sweet creature, once bedraggled, mistreated, scruffy, and flea -infested and, even to me, not so special to any other visitor to the humane society. Buddy knew that in his heart. His wounds heal from love inside out. Like ours.  You cannot make an animal love you or you love any of God’s creatures.

Claws dig into my lap and my eyes focus on the two dear, sweet animals that want to share a little lap time with Mom. Normally, I realize they would probably not have chosen to spend much time so close to each other. But these sweet boys come up to visit Mom and share the warmth of sweet trust and love. Each sees what is most important to him or her as we live and love in our small community.

God’s love Light encompasses the whole picture. Simply love all, deeply, truly and forever. Christ’s love lives and loves through us. May we strive to do this for others and ourselves. …each moment be in the present, alert as your heart peels away the wounds of your hurt and below the surface reveals to you the deep love hidden in plain sight beneath.

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis