Have you ever noticed how some wisdom is gained only through pain? The Psalmist wrote, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees” (Ps. 119:71 NLT). A recent struggle concerning our puppy reminded me of this as my spiritual eyes opened in fresh ways. It helped me better appreciate an event surrounding Easter week and the Lamb of God.
Two Dogs and a Puppy
Our female poodle’s health plummeted one weekend after months of care and prayer. She was gone before noon on Monday. Each person and pet draw out different aspects of our personalities. Cosette’s joy over simple activities made every day a party. We not only missed her, we missed who we were in her presence.Each person and pet draw out different aspects of our personalities. Cosette’s joy over simple activities made every day a party. We not only missed her, we missed who we were in her presence. #grief, #loss Click To Tweet
Our male dog grieved too. A week after losing his girl, Max fought for his life while connected to IVs. His grief had thrown his body into an Addison’s crisis. He pulled through but seemed 10 years older.
That Friday, Raleigh received an unexpected snow. My husband Larry came home early. “We need a different spirit in this house. Let’s look at puppies.”
It was my daughter’s day off. We made the necessary plans and took off. That evening we welcomed a white fluff ball into our home.
Strider, as we came to call him, became my joy-boy. His happy tail wriggled his whole body. He expressed Max’s intelligence and Cosette’s sweetness. However, he had a slight limp.
Three vet visits and an X-ray showed what my vet called bone OCD in his right shoulder. He would require shoulder surgery and 6-8 weeks of confinement and possible rehab. Two vets said surgery should heal him; two others recommended exchanging him for a healthy puppy because it could be in the other shoulder.
The breeder would exchange him for another puppy but couldn’t help with vet bills. At this time the coronavirus quarantine set in and our economy plummeted. It didn’t seem wise to venture into a medical journey with unknown costs. Our family agonized over returning our little joy-boy. We wanted to protect him, and we wanted a guarantee he’d be ok.
Caring for a Lamb
As I watched our puppy play and pictured driving him back to the breeder, I wondered if Passover brought the Hebrews the pain we felt. God required each family to bring the Passover lamb into their household and tend it with special care the week leading to its slaughter.
On the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. … The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.
“Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight” (Ex. 12:3, 5-6 NLT).
Caring for our defected puppy increased our affection for him. Why would God have the families get attached to the flawless lamb they would slaughter? Perhaps because lessons that touch our hearts resonate more than those that simply instruct our minds.Lessons that touch our hearts resonate more than those that simply instruct our minds. #Easter, #RefreshingFaith Click To Tweet
The Perfect Lamb of God
The first Passover took place while the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Passover became an annual celebration to commemorate the night the death angel passed over the Hebrew homes when he saw the lamb’s blood on their door frames. However, “there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead” (Ex. 12:30 NIV). It took this severe measure to end Israel’s long bondage to Pharaoh.
Every household tasted death that night. Those who obeyed God’s instructions slaughtered a lamb so their people and livestock could live. Those who rejected God’s provision lost family members and animals. In that light, it seems only fitting for them to know and appreciate the lamb who would die in their place—to care for their substitute.
The Passover lambs pointed to God’s Passover Lamb. Jesus is God’s perfect Lamb who takes away the sin, not of one Hebrew family, but of the whole world. Isn’t it only right that we remember His suffering (Is. 53: 2-8)?
Jonathan Cahn, author of The Book of Mysteries, connects Jesus with the custom of bringing the Passover lamb into each home. The Lamb of God, who would die in our place, rode a donkey into Jerusalem, the home of God’s family, on Palm Sunday. This was the very day the Jews were leading the Passover lambs to their houses.
The apostle Paul wanted to know Jesus fully including “the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10 NASB). To skip the fellowship of suffering is to miss the core of the gospel. The late Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand said that when he preached on the cross of Jesus in the West there was not a wet eye. But when he preached on the suffering of Christ behind the Iron Curtain there was not a dry eye.
In an ironic twist, we learned Strider doesn’t have bone OCD. God allowed us to keep him. The sadness of almost losing him multiplied the joy of keeping him.
In a bigger twist, Jesus rose from the grave. Remembering His suffering multiplies our appreciation of eternal life and freedom from sin’s bondage. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
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