Most of you know I have a granddog.
A beloved beagle.
Yup, I am way too attached to that dog. But he's just so cute I can't stand it! And he and I have bonded over these last 7 years. Yes, he lives with my son, and I am only an occasional visitor to their domain. But when I'm there, me and Marty are thick as thieves.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I was down the hill taking care of my mom. And my son and Marty came over for a visit. Marty was quite excited. He loves to play the *steal the stuffed animal and watch Gramma Sharon run after me* game. (I'm usually the one huffing and puffing the most).
Sometimes Marty gets extra-excited, and he starts doing something we call "laps." Basically he starts running really, really fast from one side of the room to the other, over and over again. He's a master at the quick *turn-on-a-dime* maneuver.
And then, he usually just plops himself right in the middle of the living room. A panting, pooped-but-pleased little pup.
It's great fun.
And this night, Marty did an especially impressive rendition of "laps" – fast and quick and tight in the turns!
I loved it.
Until the next morning.
That's when I saw the aftermath. Marty had pulled up lame.
Oh, how my heart bled at this pathetic sight. A limping, hopping beagle. Still wagging his tail, and gamely making his way to see me.
It was so very sad to see the happy-go-lucky beagle of the night before turn into a gimpy, struggling little creature.
Later that day, I took him out for his walk. (Nature still called). And dear sweet boy, he had to hop along on three legs.
I was encouraged to see that he was in good spirits, and hungry, and didn't seem to be in much pain.
So, my son and I decided to wait and watch him for a few days.
But, when I went to bed that night, all by myself, I cried myself to sleep.
It just broke my heart.
I thought about two things.
First of all, I thought about how quickly Marty adapted to the injury. How he instinctively knew how to avoid injuring his leg further, and how to get along without using it.
His spirit found a way.
Do I do this with the setbacks in my life?
I am sidelined way too easily by circumstances. I'm a *giver-upper* way too often.
I tend to curl up inside, lie down on the couch of self-pity, and moan and complain about the things that happen to me.
I do not hobble well.
Marty is a testimony to me about what it means to persevere, to endure, to rise above painful circumstances. He teaches me what it means to have an indomitable spirit.
The second thing I thought about is this…
How unfair Marty's injury was in the whole scope of things.
Creation did nothing to cause its downfall.
That was all us – all of our doing. We were the ones who fell. The ones who brought disease, and pain, and suffering, and death into God's perfect world.
And, because of us, creation groans.
It makes me sad. I feel sad for the animals and for the plants and trees. I feel bad that creation is under the curse of death and decay. All things must die, and it just doesn't seem fair. They didn't do anything to cause it.
As I watched Marty, I somehow felt responsible for his suffering.
And so, I cried some more that night. Over the sight of an innocent dog who had to feel pain because of the cosmic consequences of humans being human.
I hate sin.
But even in this, God brings hope.
We will be resurrected, and creation will be restored.
Sometimes I feel the groaning of us all – creatures and creation – deep in my soul as we all long for the release from sin's slavery.
Sometimes I can't wait for God to make it all right again...all RIGHT again.
I am happy to say that Marty seems to have healed. He walks on four paws again, and I am greatly relieved.
But, I remember the lessons I have learned.
I have learned that I must strive to persevere and endure the hardships and suffering of an imperfect world with an unflagging spirit, and a joy that overcomes. I have learned that being in this world means groaning and longing, but there is tremendous hope.
For one day God will restore His perfection, and we will witness the glory of His holiness.
Oh, and I also learned that a 7-year-old dog (49+ years) probably shouldn't do "laps." God bless him, his spirit is willing, but his flesh is a little bit weaker!!
I can relate!
All creatures great and small,
The Lord God made them all.
"You care for people and animals alike, O Lord."
"...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.."
(1 Corinthians 9:24-26, NIV)
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)
"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me." (Philippians 3:12, NLT)
"I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart." (Psalm 119:32, NASB)
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV)
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children."
(Romans 8:18-21, AMP)
What slows you down on your faith journey? What gives you hope?
Linked today with:
SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAYS, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WORDS OF LIFE WEDNESDAYS, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, FAITH BARISTA JAM, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, THE FRIDAY FIVE, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, WEEKEND BREW, STILL SATURDAY, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS
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