What My Poodle Taught Me about Faith

“But my righteous one will live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38 NIV).

I think standard poodles fall somewhere between people and pooches on the animal hierarchy—maybe slightly closer to people. Besides entertaining us, Max, our male standard, is like Nana, the canine nanny to the Darling children in Peter Pan. Before retiring, he patrols the yard and marches from room to room to check on everyone, including his sleeping poodle sister.IMG_2906

Maybe we feel especially close to our 85-pound buddy because we almost lost him three times in his first three years of life. After surviving emergency colon surgery, we were heartbroken a year later when he was back in the vet hospital fighting for his life. We had returned from church one Sunday to discover an upset tummy had completely zapped Max’s strength. He was so weak his tongue couldn’t even bring water to his mouth no matter how hard he lapped.

Confusion only added to my grief and helplessness. Why would the Lord allow Max to suffer again, so soon? Why would He save him only to have him at death’s door a year later? As I pondered this, I remembered the story of the man who was born blind. The disciples asked their own “why?”

“‘Master,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?’ ‘Neither,’ Jesus answered. ‘But to demonstrate the power of God’” (John 9:2-3 TLB).

“To demonstrate the power of God.” I wasn’t sure what that meant in relation to Max, but it gave me hope that God was going to reveal Himself in a mighty way.

Our vet promised to call as soon as she knew anything. During this wait my husband began an appointment with an apology to a new client, “Since we have a very sick dog, I’ll need to answer the phone if it rings, in case it’s our vet.”

“Is it Max?” she asked?

Stunned, Larry asked how she knew our dog. It turned out she worked at our vet’s office and had linked what he said together with the very sick dog they were treating.

That day, in Larry’s office, this woman gave her heart to Christ. God used Max’s illness to open her eyes to His plan for her.

In the meanwhile, our vet, who had lost a Great Dane to Addison’s disease during her residency, recognized the symptoms in Max. She began treatment before the diagnosis was confirmed. Her quick response saved his life.

Our crisis with Max has taught me God’s power shines when we’re helpless or stuck. It has taught me to ask God to demonstrate His power in setbacks. Telling myself, “This is for God’s glory” generates hope when I can’t see how any good could come from a situation. And guess what? God often surprises me in how He shows up!

What event has threatened your peace? If you knew God was at work in it, how would that make a difference in how you faced it?

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s give-away: Maria Gloria Perez Recio!

Linking to #reflectlinkup, #testimonyTuesday, #RaRalinkup, #livefreeThursday, #w2wwordfilledwednesday

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  1. Shirley Miller

    What a great story, Debbie. God is so good in how He works in so many areas and shows His power and love for us including caring for our pets. (We are big dog people at our house). This was a good reminder to me that I can continue to trust Him in EVERY area. Thanks!! Bless you:)

    • Debbie Wilson

      I agree, Shirley. I do enjoy how God doesn’t waste our experiences and speaks to us even through our pets. God bless you too!

  2. Ann

    Beautiful post and I can so relate! In the natural scheme of things I couldn’t see the reason for the health challenge I was faced with earlier this year, but God has brought great good out of it in my life and He gets all the glory! I love what you said, “God’s power shines when we’re helpless or stuck.” Absolutely true!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I can say God has certainly shown through your life in how you handled your health challenge.

  3. Leigh Burgin

    Debbie, Your blogs truly minister to me but I am wrestling with answering the question posed at the end of today’s blog: what event has threatened your peace? I am 59 so I have had several disappointments that God showed me where relationships, jobs or moves I desired were not His best for me. In hindsight, I feel blessed the Lord put me with my husband, job & community. But processing my sister’s suicide & finding peace about losing her in such a hearbreaking way seems out of my reach. I do know the Lord sustains me daily & is holding my sister in His arms. I have never heard a sermon on this taboo topic nor read a devotional on it. Please pray for my family’s healing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Leigh, I am very sorry for your loss. Suicide is a double tragedy. Those who loved the lost one not only suffer with grief but often feel guilt over why they couldn’t stop it. If you think it would help to process it with someone, please call our office, (919) 469-2477. Larry has helped people through this tender loss.

  4. Tai East

    Wow, Debbie! This is a beautiful post of hope and encouragement! And Max is beautiful too! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful message! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Tai, thank you for your encouragement! God bless.

  5. Fuller

    Thank you for this reminder/challenge, Debbie!
    (Beautiful/perfectly told, too.)

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks so much, Fuller!

  6. Jann

    This morning I had a dream about my dog becoming deathly ill. It startled me awake. Reaching over to the side of the bed I felt her and knew she was just fine. these beautiful creations of God are so special to us. Grateful that you have lessons learned about God through your pet and are able to share with others. Stopping by from Reflect.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jann, welcome! What an upsetting dream. Our pets are gifts from God and He has used mine to teach me much about Himself. Thank you so much for dropping by.

  7. Theresnoplacelike Home

    Hi Debbie, What a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. God is glorified in our weakness. A good reminder to be faithful when we don’t understand our situation. Knowing that He works all things together for our good. Thanks for sharing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      And don’t we need reminding when our emotions scream fear? I love hearing stories of God’s faithfulness. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Julie Lefebure

    Such a beautiful story. I’m so glad you shared it, and I’m thankful I followed you today at #RaRaLinkup! Thank you for the reminder of how God shows up, often in ways we don’t expect. Rejoicing with you today. Blessings!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Julie. I feel like I’m making new friends through the linkups!

  9. Katie M. Reid

    So glad that He is Sovereign and can use the hard for good. Thank you, Debbie, for linking up with the #RaRaLinkup.

  10. Debbie Wilson

    Thank you, Katie, for offering the linkup and for reading!

  11. Liz

    Such great and probing questions to ask when we face tough stuff! Thanks for your words today! #livefree

    • Debbie Wilson

      Liz, thanks for reading! God bless!

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