My thoughts (Robin Herman):
I find myself, after reading this passage, a little frustrated with another plea from the Bible to seek out righteousness, and forsake evil. Really? Again? The same thing over and over. For over three thousand years we’ve been reading this, learning this, understanding that this is what God’s calling us to do. Are we any better? Are we any farther along than when this was written?
The phone rang yesterday afternoon. Some of the calls I get here at work are priceless. This one sounded like an older lady. She said that she just put her Golden Retriever down and she’s looking for another dog. I told her I was sorry about her loss and she told me that it’s OK, she was 10 and had been sick. She said she had given another one back to God and it was time to rehab another rescue dog. Now this sounded like a woman I could work with!
So many people tell me it’s too hard on them to get another dog. I hate to hear that — there are so many dogs out there that need love. To love a dog is to understand that you’ll only have them for a short time, so make the best of it.
I told her about one of our current adoptable dogs, Blanket, who’s about 30 pounds, thinking he would be a perfect fit. I sensed hesitation in her voice. She was looking for something bigger. Then she told me it was because she had just bought flea medicine for a 51+ pound dog and she didn’t want that to go to waste. I assured her I could get it traded out. No need to base her choice on the medication she had! But she was sticking with a bigger dog. I told her I would call the pound and see what they had. We settled on something like a Golden, maybe a mix. She liked the Golden disposition and wanted something to sit with her on the couch. Easy enough, I thought. Oh, and at the end, she mumbled, “…and housebroken.” Whatever…
The pound had a 14 year old Golden Retriever and a two year old Flat Coated Retriever, so I called her back. After some discussion, and recounting the names and ages of every dog she’s ever had — in her entire life — she decided that 14-year-old was too old. OK, I get that too. “What else you got?” I felt like a homeless-dog-dealer. I told her about the two year old black Flat Coated Retriever. Great dog, on the adoption floor, but not adopted yet. She asked, “Is he housebroken?”
That one always kills me. Like we know. The pound is an awful place for dogs. They are brought in, processed, vaccinated, and crammed in a 3×3 cement cell listening to a mind-numbing level of barking and fear. I said I don’t know, but I did know that the 14 year old Golden Retriever was.
Still, she was hesitating. Noting my confusion, she finally said, “Well, the thing is, I have white carpet. I just got it cleaned.” I quietly chuckled. In the rescue world, we joke about the silly reasons people dump dogs at the pound. “Not matching the carpet” is one of the stupidest ones, so when people ask why a dog was dumped, we say they must not have matched the carpet. Truly justifiable reasons for dumping a dog at the pound are so far and few between. I don’t even ask anymore.
She said, “Can I say thanks, but keep looking?” Sure I said, I’ll give you a call if I find something.
I’m not really sure how this story relates to the lessons from this scripture. But for me, where there might have been judgement, frustration, and even some anger, I have an out. I can give this woman and the mysterious 51-100 pound, 4 year old, housebroken, carpet-matching, Golden Retriever-ish dog to God and go about my day with faith that if they are to find each other, they will. In the meantime, there’s a lady standing at my door with a little min-pin thing. Hmmm….
Thought for the day: So, three thousand years later, are we any better at following the wisdom God has for us? What wisdom can I practice today? What can I give to God today?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.