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Sprawling Dog

Ecclesiastes 4:10 – If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (NIV)

We have had a Yellow Labrador Retriever from the age of six weeks. We brought him into the house as a pet for the boys when they were little. Well, if the truth be known, it was I who wanted a Lab, as we had had a black one when growing up. Anyway, for the past fourteen years, this Lab has called this his home. The boys are now men, and the dog is aging gracefully — well, maybe not so gracefully, as the stairs are giving him some trouble. A common sound in the evening is the dog's nails clicking on the tile at the bottom of the basement stairs as he paces. He is trying to decide if it is worth it to make the climb to join us in the living room. It not an easy task for him to make the climb; he often requires help. I have noticed that, at first, he would struggle and make the climb himself; he seemed reluctant to take the help offered. Now as he paces on the tile, it is like he is saying, Okay, help me. Today, he almost made it to the first landing. Our son, who had come ahead of him, glanced back and saw the dog sprawled with his front paws on the ceramic tile and his body hugging the stairs, unable to pull himself forward. He was at risk of sliding back down the stairs. Our son called back to the dog and told him to hold on, and the dog stopped struggling and waited for him to come and help him.

Isaiah 33:2 – O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (NIV)

There are some lessons for us in this. Just as our son is fully aware of the dog's needs and always waits close by to assist if needed, Jesus is always aware of all our needs and remains near and ready to assist.

Even though the dog at times didn't seem to need the help, our son still lingered nearby and continued to offer help. Jesus often remains silent to us, allowing us to call out to Him. Yet He is always with us.

Oh, how often we have been in similar ways, not wanting to accept help, thinking that we can do it on our own! The next time we find ourselves in a situation of despair and reluctance, instead of pacing and looking for other ways to go about getting what we need, why not allow someone to help? Even better yet, be the one extending the help and grace. Let us always turn to Jesus, and allow Him to lift us from our sprawling state.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (NIV)

What rejoicing there is when we turn to Jesus! His hand is always extended to help us up.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all the times when You provided comfort and care in our need. We want to recognize and declare our thanks to You today. Help us to come quickly to You at all times with praise and thanksgiving. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Julie Bowles