How My Dog Helped Me Trust God

max and me - Version 2I felt like a traitor luring my dog into my vet’s lab room. I did it to save his life. But Max doesn’t know that. Does he think I’m heartless to let the vet draw blood from his thin leg before I take him home?

For months after Max was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, the vet had to draw his blood to check his electrolyte and hormone levels. One week Max stayed planted when the technician came for him. I got to follow the tech, and he willingly followed me.

This made me consider how I trust God when I hurt. It’s easy to believe that if I understood the purpose, I’d trust God better. But is that true?

Imagine explaining Max’s condition to him. I could read him the symptoms off the Internet. I could show him his lab reports. I could remind him how he almost died. But would that help Max have his blood drawn?

My knowledge concerning the treatment of Max’s illness is better than his. I know the pain of the needle is brief and the benefits are lasting. Sometimes God allows us to see the benefit of our losses. But many of our “whys” remain unanswered.

Isaiah 55:8-9 offers some understanding.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts” (NIV).

The difference between my thoughts and my dog’s is so much less than the distance between God’s thoughts and mine. If Max can’t understand why I take him to have his blood drawn, do I think I can understand why God lets pain touch me?

But God has not left me without assurance. He has promised:

  • “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17 NIV).
  • “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18 NIV).

A child of God can’t lose a hair without God noticing. Perhaps Romans 8:31 (NASB) best sums up all we really need to remember. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

Life on this planet is a vapor. But how we live it affects eternity. Pain, loss, and confusion are opportunities to trust our Master. The pain is real, but He allows it only for our greater good.

When I see Max romp across the yard without a symptom of Addison’s, I thank God for blood tests and shots. I remember how sick he was without them. He doesn’t understand the connection. He doesn’t need to. Max only needs to understand that I take care of him.

Please click here to comment.

Ladies, this Friday, October 11, 2013, I’ll be speaking at a Knowing God luncheon in Cary, NC on “Trusting God When Life Stinks.” I’d love to see you.


Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson



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  1. Sheila Cragg

    Thanks, I needed this; perfect analogy! Sheila

    • Debbie

      Thanks, Sheila. So good to hear from you.

  2. Ann Musico

    For me, without a doubt – trust is more important. I love the analogy with Max – it’s so clear and easy to relate to. We are sheep and He is the Shepherd – I don’t have to understand everything (in fact, I understand very little – something I’ve come to accept with age) I just have to trust the One Who does. And I do.

    • Debbie

      Ann, you are so right. If we remember we are sheep and He’s the good Shepherd, it would help us when we don’t understand.

  3. Dan Miller

    Wow – that is a very powerful metaphor. Max having to trust you without being able to understand the pain or the process. How often have I “refused to go with the technician” when my need for understanding was stronger than my faith in the “doctor?” And what healing has that kept from me?

    • Debbie

      I like your applications, Dan. I know I’ve missed out on a lot of peace of mind when I’ve made understanding a condition to trust.

  4. Becky Greenfield

    thank you so much, great way of putting it. I wish I lived closer to hear your message you are giving. My husband is terminal with ALS.

    • Debbie

      Becky, I’m so sorry. I can only imagine what you both are going through.
      They are supposed to tape the talk. You and your husband may find comfort through reading “In Light of Eternity” by Randy Alcorn. He does a beautiful job of revealing heaven and the hope we have.

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