A week and a half ago, while on my prayer walk, I heard the pitiful cries of a dog coming from the bottom of a deep ravine. Unable to resist an animal in distress, I investigated and discovered that the whining was coming from a puppy who was stuck and couldn't climb up the steep bank. Unfazed by snakes, bugs, poison ivy and whatever else may have been lurking in the overgrowth, I climbed (and slid) down the hill and rescued the terrified canine.
Once back on the road, I had to decide what to do with the poor thing. My first thought was to keep him. He was so cute and precious, and I could feel myself getting attached to him with every step. I got him home, gave him some milk (which he promptly devoured) and set up a little bed in a box for him until I could figure out what to do. As much as I wanted to keep him, I knew it wasn't in his best interest or ours. We're too busy to train a puppy right now. Besides that, Mitch has been the only dog in the house for nearly a year and a half, and I'm not sure how he would react to having to share his attention again. No, I knew in my heart that the best thing to do was to take him to the animal shelter.
The problem was that the nearest shelter didn't accept strays until noon. It was 9:30. That gave me way too much time to grow attached to this adorable bundle of joy. So, I put him in the box with a pillow and blanket and did my best to ignore him. He got comfortable and stayed put, barely making a sound, but he watched me intently. When noon finally arrived, I dug up every ounce of resolve I could muster and made my way to the shelter.
Of course, this would be the day they were swamped. There was nothing for me to do but to wait my turn, all the while holding and comforting the scared pup. Before long, he had calmed to the point that he was nearly asleep on my shoulder. Passersby commented, "You should keep him" and "He's fallen in love with you." They weren't helping!!!! I was having the hardest time staying in that line. I wanted to turn around and leave. I wanted to take that sweet thing home and show him just how wonderful life could be. But I had to do what was best, and while I knew we would offer that puppy more love than he could handle, it was not the best thing for any of us. So, with tear-filled eyes and a heavy heart, I finally handed him over and walked away.
It broke my heart to do it. I'm still haunted by it. Yet I have no doubt that I did the right thing, the best thing. Now, if I could only be sure that little puppy understood that too.
Friend, it gives God no pleasure to do things that seem unfair or hurtful to us. He takes no joy in seeing us writhe in frustration or confusion. But because of His great love, He will always do what's best for us. It may not seem best at the time. It may not even seem good. But God sees and understands what we don't, just as I saw and understood what the puppy couldn't. He knows what's best, not only for us but for all those around us. He has a perfect plan, and while it is painful at times, He has promised that they are not plans of evil or ill intent (Jeremiah 29:11). He is busy working all things for our good, and I believe sometimes it pains Him as much as it pains us. But because He is good, He will always do what's right. And we can trust in that, no matter how difficult the day may be.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - Jeremiah 29:11