“…wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds… Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted.” –Psalm 148:10, 13*
(ROCKWALL, TX — Nov. 8, 2019) I can almost taste it. But roast turkey is off limits for me these days, according to my vet, who said, “No more poultry for Rufus.”
I’m an old dog who never learned any tricks. I even struggled to obey commands, with the exception of “wait,” which is commendable for my breed of terrier—Jack Russell. Even so, I’ve been observant in other ways, and with help from “Mom” here, I’d like to share some wisdom I’ve gained—mostly through pain and disappointment.
First of all: Be thankful. For me this means looking beyond my weak stomach and other afflictions. From head to tail, here are some things that challenge me to embrace a right attitude:
- Diminished eyesight prevents me from doing things I once enjoyed, like ridding the yard of snakes and varmints. But it makes me appreciate those who watch over me.
- My hearing is beyond diminished—completely gone. And though I greatly miss the voices of loved ones and the bark of friends, I no longer fear scary noises: sirens, thunder, fireworks, and my former nemesis, the vacuum cleaner.
- My teeth are quite bad. Chew-bones are such a thing of the past that I can’t remember where I buried my last one. I’m thankful that Mom adds broth to my kibble and gives me soft biscuits made with cranberries and sweet potatoes.
- Muscle tone once fueled my ego; the loss of it now feeds my humility. I have to be lifted to the sofa and helped back down again. I’m blessed to have strong arms around me and soft places to rest my sore bones.
- Allergies anyone? It’s hard to be thankful in this. Bermuda grass is tough on bare paws, and it’s everywhere! I’d bite my toes raw and rub the whiskers off my muzzle without antihistamines—they’re amazing. I also enjoy warm baths that relieve my itching and make me feel like a brand-new dog.
With that long list of infirmities, I have little to offer my family in return for their care. Yet, in my weakness their faithfulness remains the same. I finally realized they chose and adopted me because they had love to give, and I never had to earn it.
I’ve also learned something more important than showing appreciation for my family, which is merely licking the hands that feed me. The Creator of all things was far from my thoughts for most of my life as I looked to my family to satisfy all my desires. However, as everyone and everything around me has slowly faded from view, God’s goodness has become so clear! He is the only one who never fails.
When I begin to worry about the days ahead, I remember that Jesus said a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without the Father in Heaven knowing it (Matthew 10:29). And I’m much bigger than one of those! God’s love is too wonderful for me to comprehend.
Maybe troubles or sorrows have had the opposite effect on you, and God seems far away. Did you know that Jesus came for the sick and the lost? And that his sacrifice on the cross opened the way for you to draw near to God? (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Trusting in Jesus brings peace despite difficulties, especially knowing he’s preparing a better place (John 14:1-3)—one you can be eternally thankful for.
*New International Version
By Patti Richter. Patti writes and edits Christian faith articles and has co-authored Signs of His Presence: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering (March 2019). Read more of her essays at blueribbonnews.com/category/faith.
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