Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me.
I don’t know if you have a dog friend, but I do. Her name is Ramona. Dogs have been helpful friends for humans for a long time. I have had a dog friend for many years now, and I often think about how Ramona, ministers to me. When I am at home she is always present, wherever I am. If I am in the office at the computer, she is lying right at my feet. If I am taking a shower, she is always lying right by the bathroom door waiting for me to emerge. If I am in the kitchen she is lying on the dining room floor in front of the kitchen door watching my every movement. If I am in my easy chair reading, she is lying right at my feet.
Recently I came down with walking pneumonia, and it zapped my energy level to almost nothing. My lungs seemed to have no space for oxygen. Taking the antibiotic and drinking lots of liquids was my weekly regimen, and Ramona was with me every moment, day and night. I prayed the above Psalmists prayer hoping for a quick recovery, but it actually took a month, just like the doctor told me it would. I have recovered however in due time, and my strength is improving day by day. Even though I did not recognize it in the moment, as I prayed that prayer for deliverance from pneumonia, Ramona was right beside me. She was consistent in her presence with me as I began to get better, breathe deeper, and regain my energy. Then one day after my prayers, I sat thinking how God had been beside me during that time of illness, I realized that Ramona was a wonderful picture of Jesus. Yes, I know she is a dog, but I have come to believe that animals often manifest the love of God toward us. We simply have to recognize it.
Jesus sticks right beside us wherever we are. There is nothing and no one who can separate us from His love. Jesus does not want to be anywhere else but right beside us in our difficulties, our joys, our sorrows, our problems and in our wonderful delights of life. His love is faithful no matter what happens, and no matter where we are. I was reminded of his faithful presence as I watched Ramona move with me from room to room, bed to chair, or computer to books. Her faithful presence was a reminder that Jesus was delivering me, day by day and he never left my side. I have recovered from the pneumonia, but guess who is still lying at my feet this very moment. Yes, Ramona is here. Just like Jesus, her love is making haste to comfort me and help me.
Can you recall when Jesus was with you in a difficult time or struggle of your life?
If you have a dog friend or a pet, how does he or she minister to you?
- In what other ways do you see that Jesus is with you all the time?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.