Can You Feel God’s Love in the Hard Places?

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in my weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9a

Have you ever felt like you’ve had the wind sucked right out of your lungs? Or that you’re suffocating under the weight of your heart breaking?

It all happened so fast I didn’t have time to think or prepare in any way.

Jag was a working dog. He was a handful as we started training. He was full of tension and didn’t always deal with it in the most appropriate ways. I struggled to figure out ways to help him.

But, his heart was so big and he had so much try I just couldn’t give up trying myself.

I discovered through Jag it can include animals as well. We had been through the fire together and the bond formed through it was amazing!

A wonderful bond develops when a person weather’s a storm with someone else. I discovered through Jag it can include animals as well. We had been through the fire together and the bond formed through it was amazing!

Border Collies are a stoic breed by nature. So looking back it doesn’t surprise me that he never let on he was in trouble. We were moving sheep for several hours and I noticed he started to favor a hind leg. Yet he still didn’t want to quit. When he was still favoring it the next day I raced him over to the vet.

It’s amazing how fast things can go downhill. I wasn’t prepared. My heart wasn’t ready for what happened next. I’m not sure it ever is. We discovered he had a tumor strangling the main blood vessel into his heart. He was bleeding out internally and despite my vets best efforts we were unable to save him.

So many people tried to tell me he was “just a dog”. I suppose if you’ve never felt the loyalty of countless hours spent together it would seem that way.

So many people tried to tell me he was “just a dog”.

I suppose if you’ve never felt the loyalty of countless hours spent together it would seem that way. My heart felt like it had been ripped out and stomped all over. I had been cheated and on top of the hurt, anger soon followed suit.

Yet in the middle of it all, God met me. As I was crying out to God in anguish I could almost audibly hear a scripture reference whispered to me. I raced to look it up and sobbed tears of release as words I’d read many times took on new meaning.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Only God! He’s there for us even when it feels like our world is falling apart. He loves us in the hard places when we have doubts. He holds us up when we’re struggling to move forward.

There were still valleys of heartache to travel but I was grateful to feel God’s presence with me in those valleys. He wants to strengthen and hold us up in this life. Let’s allow Him in to do just that!

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

It has been several years since Jag went on ahead and every now and then I still shed a few tears. More often than not though I smile over the memories and am reminded of how faithful our God is in the hard places!

I want to share a poem with you I have always loved. It sums up the love and loyalty God gifted a dog with so beautifully.

Loyalty

God summoned a beast from the field and He said, “Behold people created in my image, therefore, adore them. You shall protect them in the wilderness, shepherd their flocks, watch over their children, accompany them wherever they may go – even into civilization. You shall be a companion, an ally, a slave.

“To do these things,” God said, “I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts:  faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing that of people. Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.

Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of people. Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Let no fault of language leave an accord beyond that of people with any other beast – or even people with other people. Speak to your people only with your mind and through your honest eyes.

“Walk by their sides; sleep in their doorways; forage for them; ward off their enemies; carry their burdens; share their afflictions; love them and comfort them. And in return for this, people will fulfill your needs and wants which shall be only food, shelter and affection.

“So be silent, and be a friend to people. Guide them along the way to this land that I have promised them. This shall be your destiny and your immortality.” So spoke the Lord.

And the dog heard and was content.

Author unknown

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