My best friend and I were spending a lazy Saturday morning going to yard sales searching for deals. We each had a list of items we hoped to find, which made the hunt more purposeful. There were usually enough unexpected treasures along the way to keep the journey exciting. That day however, I found myself staring at a very expensive dog lead, which appeared to be brand-new. The price was a whopping $.25. I picked it up, pulled the lead, and was amazed that it was in perfect condition.
"Hey Phyll. You need this?" I asked.
"No, I've already got one," she replied.
"Too bad. It's a nice one."
Placing the lead back on the table, I continued surveying the goods. As I walked away, I had one of "those" feelings, that perhaps I needed to reconsider the lead. Sometimes discernment is a tricky thing. The main issue was not the ridiculously low price, but that I did not have a dog. Nor was I in the market for one. Life was complicated enough, without adding one more thing I had to take care of. I stared at the lead and decided that I had gone crazy, and once again walked away. When the inner voice grew louder, "get the lead", I nervously walked back over to the table, grabbed it, forked the quarter over, and told the lady I had absolutely no idea why I was buying it.
A few weeks later, a coworker approached me about adcopting her neighbor's pure bred, registered, golden retriever puppy who was being abused and severely malnourished. God's plan bloomed in my mind at that moment and I was overwhelmed at how He provides for needs we don't even know we have. It took several months for the deal to go down, but finally, my brother and I arrived at the house to collect the pooch.
She was a year and a half old, but was dangerously thin. There was a red ring around her newly-shaved neck that I mistook at first for a collar. Instead, it was where her puppy collar had been left too tight for too long, and had cut through her skin. The owners had taken her to the vet that day to ready her for my visit. My blood boiled. The poor dog was wild from the sudden attention and once off her chain, raced haphazardly around the back yard. Everyone was trying to catch her, but she evaded them. My heart broke for her. Instead of trying to catch her, I simply sat cross-legged on the grass, with the new lead in my hand. All of a sudden from about 30 yards away, she saw me, stopped in her tracks, then ran straight toward me while the others chased and yelled at her. She jumped into my lap and started licking my face. I motioned the others to stay back and let her calm down. For 10 minutes, we sat there, loving each other. Out of crowd, she had just picked me to be her human.
Once my brother and I got her to my house, we gave her a bath, food, and let her acclimate to her new home. I changed her name and everything she might associate with her past life. She was a new creation now, and got to start over. She was terribly out of control, but quickly learned what was expected from her, and was very eager to please. And to lavish a love on me I had not experienced in years.
A few weeks later, we went for a vet follow-up and they could not believe she was the same dog. She was calm, well-mannered, and extremely happy. The parallel was striking. For me, too. How abused and malnourished was I before God came to rescue me? How unsettled and out of control had I been? And what a difference His love and guidance made in my life! I was now . . . stable. He accepted me. Renamed me. Loved me. Cleaned me up. Fed me. And provided my every need. My old life was a faded dream. And I was allowed to start over.
That was over 11 years ago, and I am reminded of God's goodness and mercy every time I look at my big red dog, Sadie. She is one of the most precious gifts He has ever given me. And my heart overflows on a daily basis. He led me to rescue her, and she, with infinite unconditional love, rescued me right back.
How has God shown His goodness and mercy to you?