Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Puppies and Ministry

Days  like today remind me once again that God does move in mysterious ways sometimes.  

My severe allergy to dogs is unrelenting.  Going to visit friends who have dogs requires me to start taking allergy and asthma medication for at least 3 or 4 days prior to the visit and then again for a day afterward.  It is one of the areas of my life where I have occasionally experienced temporary relief when I had no time to take meds before the exposure, but I have not experienced permanent healing despite years of prayer.  So, I accept it as my "thorn in the flesh", as Saint Paul so practically put it.

However, it is so like the Lord to put me in situations where I end up making unexpected contacts for sharing the love of Jesus despite my own problems.  Runaway dogs have often figured in that sort of ministry.  Today it happened again.

I was walking home from downtown this afternoon when I noticed, about 3 blocks ahead of me, a tiny dog racing full tilt down the sidewalk toward me, a young gal hot in pursuit.  The girl was falling farther and farther behind as the puppy continued running as quickly as he could, tongue hanging out, exuberance at his freedom shining out of his every pore.  As the distance between us shortened I could see the girl panting, tiring, crying with frustration that her little dog would not come to her when she called.  

So, I prayed she would soon recapture him.  Well, of course, as usual, the dog spied me and headed for me as fast as his little legs could carry him.  He pulled up to a full stop at my feet, becoming still so quickly I nearly fell over him.  "Please, please can you grab him?", gasped the exhausted teen girl who was still half a block away.

Of course I could.  The dog wasn't moving at all, just staring up at me and blinking.  So I reached down, nabbed his collar, gave him a little pet on the head and waited for the girl to catch up with us.  She was so out of breath she could barely squeeze out her wheezy  little "Thank you, thank you. I am late for the doctor and my mom is waiting to take me"  She picked up her dog, who began squirming immediately, wanting to be let down for some more fun running about.  I shook my finger at him and told him to settle down "in Jesus' name", which he did.  The girl thanked me for praying, then carried him back, trotting along as quickly as she could without falling down from lack of breath and I continued on my way back to my own house.

Me and run away dogs.....my main claim to ministry fame.  Every town we have ever lived in runaway dogs have come at me, stopping at my feet to be picked up and returned to their owners.  It is bizarre.  It is kind of cool.  As usual, even though I had touched the dog I didn't sneeze, I didn't start wheezing between the incident and when I was able to get home and wash my hands.  

I started remembering our next door neighbours from years ago and the number of times the same type of incident occurred between them and their dog and me, but with even more chance to share about Jesus' love for them and for their puppy.  Even at 4am, heading out to help them capture their dog after it escaped in the small hours of the morning, so we could all get some more sleep, there would always be that extra few minutes to share about the odd event of me praying for them and their runaway dog and being able then to capture him when none of them could do it.  They thought I was completely nuts at first but more things happened to help them realize that praying to Jesus perhaps has some power to it.

Haha......me and dogs and asthma and ministry....life is never boring is it?

Bizarre......and awesome....and God inspired.

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