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Lessons From the Hurricane Hound: Part I

Lessons From the Hurricane Hound: Part II

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Lessons From the Hurricane Hound: Part III

By Wendy Lanier
Guest Writer In the days before Hurricane Rita washed ashore we were a two dog family. By the time Rita had finished cutting her path through Southeast Texas, we had acquired a third dog rescued from the side of the road.

A female lab mix with injuries serious enough to require one leg to be amputated. Our Miss Brooks (we found her on Brooks Road) became a permanent member of the family before the winds of Rita had completely died down. That wasn’t the plan, but she followed me home. What could I do?

Although Miss Brooks loves to be held, she is no longer a scrawny puppy. Picking her up is becoming more and more of a challenge. When I try, she immediately goes limp. Every try to pick up a 39 pound dishrag?

Driving along one day, I had a mental image of my struggles to pick up a completely limp 39 pound dog. She’s putty in my hands. About the time the thought crossed my mind, I heard the Lord whisper, “I wish you’d be putty in mine. I could do so much more with you if you were.”

Putty in the master’s hands. Now there was an idea to consider. Isaiah 64:8 likens the Father to a master potter. We are the work of His hands to be shaped as he sees fit. How often do I try to tell Him how to fashion me, instead of letting the artisan do his work?

What he wants is for me to be moldable, and to stop telling him how to run his business. I imagine the whole process would be much less painful if I did. Putty in His hands. I need to remember that one.

Since Miss Brooks’ addition to our family, I’ve learned to be careful where I step. If I stand in one place very long, when I start off again, I am apt to step on her. That’s because Miss Brooks takes every opportunity to plop down at my feet—even if I’m still standing.

About the third or fourth time she did it, the Lord said, “She adores you. See how she falls at your feet?” It was kind of hard to miss. I kept tripping over her.

“I want you to adore me that way. Fall at my feet.”

I once heard Carol Arnott, of the Toronto Outpouring, relate an experience she had while spending an extended time before the Lord. She was pretty sure there were other things the Lord wanted her to do besides just sit there, but each time she asked if she should get up He directed her to stay.

She wanted to know why. As I listened to her relate this story, the response the Lord gave her tore at my heartstrings. It was simple. The God of the entire universe wanted to spend some time with his kid. He wanted to hear his child express her love to him.

Psalm 95:6 calls us to this kind of worship:

"Come, let us bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."

The more I thought about it, I realized the Lord was using Miss Brooks to remind me He wants what all parents want—quality time with their kids. He was saying, “Hang out with me for a while. Tell me you love me. Worship me.” It’s a lesson I’m trying to practice more often.

One of the lessons we’ve learned from Miss Brooks had a surprising catalyst. A month or so
after she joined us, I was mentally reviewing the events surrounding Hurricane Rita. I remembered how excited Miss Brooks was the day we visited her at the vet’s office after her operation—so excited she wet the floor. We got a repeat performance when we picked her up on Monday.

Back at home a few weeks later, we took Miss Brooks to our local vet to be spayed. They kept her overnight for observation following the surgery, and my husband picked her up the next day. I hadn’t thought to ask him at the time, but now I wondered how she had reacted when she saw him.

“Was Miss Brooks glad to see you?” “Must have been,” he laughed. “She wet the floor.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, too. “Ok, Lord. What’s that about?”

I was teasing. I really wasn’t expecting a lesson from my dog’s toilet habits, but there was one. “Be glad to see me when I show up.”

“God showed up” is a phrase often used in charismatic circles to describe a time when God has manifested himself in some tangible way. Those times are great, but I think there’s more to it than that. God always shows up. The key is to look for Him in every situation and be glad to see Him
whether He manifests Himself in big ways or quiet ones.

Sometimes the way to see God at work is to be still. As we are reminded in Psalm 46:10, be still and know that He is God. Even though things might be a little crazy all around us, we can be still and see God. We’ll be glad we did.

With her shaky start only a distant memory, Miss Brooks is able to streak around the house on her three legs just as well as if she had four. In many ways, she has not proven to be the perfect dog.

Our living object lesson is spoiled rotten, snores like a buzz saw, and has become something of a tyrant where the other dogs are concerned. Still, when I look at her I can’t help but be reminded of God’s grace.

When we returned home after Hurricane Rita we found our home had lost five shingles, but had sustained no permanent damage otherwise. The months following have been fraught with other kinds of storms, but through them all we know God is near.

His grace is always sufficient. Nothing can happen that He will not turn around for our good. And just in case I forget, I have only to glance at the sleeping dog draped over my feet—mercy and grace personified in 39 pounds of black fur with a wet nose and three legs.

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