I can still feel the crispness in the spring wind on that Easter weekend in 2004. Driving home from a Living Last Supper Easter church presentation where I participated as a character performer, my heart was still singing one of the choir songs that reflected the miracle of Resurrection Sunday.
That year, especially, I needed to feel God’s nearness. I had been through a devastating and heart-breaking personal experience, and life felt empty, forsaken, and abandoned. Little did I know that before my car reached the Rankin Farm, the Lord would give me something beautiful and lasting. He would give me a perfect gift.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights…
As I drove toward the farm, I caught a flash of white through my side window. Oh! It was the same little stray dog I tried to catch earlier in the week. I slowly pulled over at the Shell Superstop and glanced at the box of Easter cinnamon roll yummies a friend had given me at church. The little stray couldn’t resist. As she engulfed the rolls, I named her Lily. Recognizing that Lily had recently had puppies, Mother went with me as Lily trustingly led us across the highway to an abandoned truck lot. We were shocked to find seven tiny puppies nestled under one of the old, crusty truck beds. Their eyes were still closed.
God gives perfect gifts, and one of those puppies became that perfect gift to me. A lover of all-things-music, I named him Bach, after the composer who signed every piece of music “Soli Deo Gloria – to the Glory of God alone.”
Through the years, God taught me countless spiritual lessons through that puppy dog and his faithful nature – one lesson of which I share today. When I was at the farm, Bach knew where I was.
Always. Every minute of the day.
Whether he was inside or outside, he knew where I was. Inside, he followed me room to room. If he was outside and I was inside, he dashed from door to door, looking through the glass and barking expectantly. If he couldn’t find me through the glass door, he would prop his front paw on a window sill, his nose against the glass window pane, and gaze into the house, determined to find me. It never crossed his mind I wouldn’t hear him, see him, respond to him, and let him in the house. All he had to do, in his mind, was ask.
Simple, steady faith.
As soon as I saw him, I gave a signal, and he ran to the back porch door to be let in the house with me. It was funny how the other dogs would lazily lie in the yard and wait for Bach to get the signal. When they saw him rush to the back door, they rustled up and followed him. They could have barked at the door. They could have looked for me through the window. They could have seen the signal directly from me. But they didn’t look for it. They watched Bach. Because of Bach’s unyielding faithfulness to look for me and find me, we shared a special closeness I didn’t have with the others. They had the same access to me that Bach had. They just didn’t use it.
That sweet habit of his reminds me of my spiritual life. Do I look for God’s presence in my life? Do I search for Him? Do I long for him? Do I keep my eyes fixed on Him? Do I know where He is at work? Do I run from door to door, window to window, with my nose pressed against the glass of life, expecting God’s faithful response?
Ask, and it shall be given to you.
Do I yearn to be near Him?
Seek, and you shall find.
Do I believe without a doubt He will hear me? See me? Respond? Open the door and let me in?
Knock, and it shall be opened to you.
Or do I lay in the yard of discouragement and think He only speaks to others and not me? Do I worry, when I am feeling “cast outside,” that His faithfulness has run dry? That His provision has run out? That His love for me has wavered? That He’ll respond to others but not to me? That He has forgotten me?
Or do I trust. Pray. Watch. Wait. Expect. Love. Ask. Seek. Knock. And above all else, believe.
God used that little stray puppy – an unexpected Easter gift in the midst of a dark time in my life – to be my constant companion, bring unspeakable joy, and teach me about the Lord’s abiding faithfulness. The Pandemic of 2020 will, for me, be forever marked with the crushing heart ache of losing Bach. As I let go that final time and said farewell to him through a tear-stained face and broken heart, I thanked God for 16 years with this perfect gift wrapped in fur.
God made the animals according to their kind…and all the creatures…and God saw that it was good.
Even then, God knew some of us might need His creatures a little more than others. Bach will always be my reminder that even in the midst of heartache and disappointment, God gives perfect gifts. And He uses those gifts to bring us closer to Him.
Ask, seek, knock. God sees me. He hears me. He loves me. Forever. Thank you, Jesus. Soli Deo Gloria.