Several months ago while traveling on business I met a pastor who although retired was shepherding a small church in a rural area. Our conversation began while I was inspecting the damage done to his home from a recent storm. As we walked around his property I noticed a small dog on the patio deck. As we went through the gate and into the back yard this well groomed well mannered dog came bounding down the steps of the wood deck.
He came and sat in front of me, anxiously anticipating acknowledgment. Our dogs are not so well mannered, like most dogs they are jump, jump, jumping for attention. This pup was different, a seemingly calm knowingness and acceptance of what was to come. I was compelled to gently speak to him and bend down on one knee to pet him. That’s when I noticed it.
His right front leg from just below the shoulder was missing. I was a bit taken back, I would not have noticed from a distance. The energy, agility and happy demeanor of this dog said nothing about his challenge. As I petted my new found friend I asked “what’s his name”. His owner/friend/caretaker said proudly his name is” Trouper”. Well that certainly made sense. A dog with only three legs and the one missing being his front leg he would have to be a trouper just to get up every day.
Webster defines a Trouper as: a person who deals with and persists through difficulty or hardship without complaint. The Pastor told me he saw him on the side of the road as he was running some errands. He said it looked like an animal that had possibly been hit by a car and then was knocked into or had made it to the grassy area. He wasn’t going to stop but was some how compelled to stop, back up, and take a look.
He noticed that it was dog, fur all matted, dirty, bleeding and obviously malnourished. The Pastor decided he would take the dog to a vet that he knew and would leave the dog there and be on his way. That would be the right thing to do. He gave the vet some money, not enough to cover what clearly would be an expensive doctor bill but what he could. If the dog survived maybe a nice family would adopt the dog. The Pastor left thinking he had done all he could and went on his way to complete his task
The Pastor told me two weeks later much to his surprise, and astonishment the Vet called and simply said “your dog is ready”. “What, I don’t have a dog” the Pastor told him. His friend said “well you do know,” “no charge, just give him a good home”. The Pastor told me “I didn’t want or need a dog”. I laughed and said “apparently you do”!
The Pastor went on to tell me how the dog must have been without a home or lost, had been hit by a car, his front leg broken so badly it could not be repaired. The Vet did all he could, and it took time, healing, and love, but Trouper adapted to his new challenge. Clearly Troupers new home and master agreed with him and his new place in the world.I finished my inspection and took a couple of pictures of Trouper as a reminder of my unexpected “Divine Appointment”.
See I thought I was going to inspect a damaged property but in reality I went to visit a damaged life that was resurrected. There are numerous Biblical analogies of this simple yet elegant portrayal of how our Heavenly Father knows and meets our needs. I too have on occasion been hit, damaged, broken and left beside the road. I am amazed looking back, how my Heavenly Father provided care, compassion, needed expertise, healing, and a new and wonderful beginning.
Often times the wound has healed but the scare remains, to remind, encourage, and strengthen us and others. One of my personal favorites is 2 Corinthians 18:9
We were under great pressure, far beyond our abilities to endure. So that we despaired even of life. In our hearts we felt death. But “this happened” that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God “who raises the dead”.
The vents of our life are often surprising, shocking and overwhelming. Sometimes the result of the choices we make but more times than not, just how life is, and what it means to be human. My personal experience is God is not the cause of these events but like the Pastor, He is there; he rescued me from death, made provision for me, and made me whole again.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
18. Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. 19. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it, and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
May God bless your life as you pursue him! May Gods love and kindness direct you as we are renewed and strengthened as he does a new thing in our lives, the journey to our new life is on foot, led by the Spirit and Gods Word, to serve Him, and others.