Tuesday, February 1, 2011
God-Sighting 10,001--Our Lost Dog
I had a sick feeling, not in the pit of my stomach, but in that place we call the soul. My soul was bleeding. Each morning I'd wake up with hope. This would be the morning he'd come back. I'd look out our bedroom window and scan the yard. I'd go out onto our back porch and holler, "Oscar, Oscar, where are you? Oscar?" My eyes would play tricks on me. I'd think he was here, our dog. I was sure he was at the end of our lane. I jumped into our van and drove down to rescue him, but it was just the right colored bush and from a distance and with the right imagination that bush seemed to really be him.
Our dog went missing on a Thursday night between the hours of midnight and 3 am. If you've been reading my blog, you know that Oscar is one of the family. He is part of us and not just us, but the lives of my parents who live next door.
My dad searched the woods. Walked down by the river. We tried to go on with our day, but as the day progressed this horrible feeling increased. We all knew a most horrible thing had occurred. Someone had stolen our dog---our faithful dog who is so extremely loyal that he doesn't even leave our porch unless we take him on an adventure around the farm.
We started asking around, talking to people who might have seen something.
Friday night came, no Oscar. Saturday was a long, painful day. We started praying, begging really. I was driving our van and just started verbally speaking out to God, begging him to move in the person who took him. That, that person would somehow feel remorse and return him. Others were praying this same prayer. I just kept repeating, "Lord hear our prayer....Lord hear our prayer." I kept praying the impossible, claiming that He was the God of impossible. Our boys witnessed this.
In the midst of all this turmoil, our youngest fell off our play structure and ended up needing stitches at the ER. This only added to the distress of this last weekend.
I started praying that if Oscar was dead, that we'd find his body, so we could move on, and not keep wondering. He was not even three yet. If we never found out what happened to him, then each year I'd think and wonder about him...wonder where he was, if he was happy, if he was being loved.
Then we started hearing more reports of dognappings, of desperate people selling large dogs for research to make extra money. This made my heart even more sick.
Sunday was fading. We'd finally decided that if he didn't show up by the following weekend, we'd get a new puppy...we needed something to make us joyful again. I fond myself just wanting to sleep, not wanting to be industrious or even eat.
My father stopped working in the orchard because he was just too lonely without Oscar.
Then I saw a flash. It was 5 pm on Sunday. My 70-year-old mother was sprinting across our back yard and flailing her arms in excitement. "He's back! Oscar is back!"
And there he was. We all smothered him. He had come sprinting across the two eastern fields. His heart was racing, a scared, desperate racing...not just a tired, running racing.
In the clump of trees he ran from has an old gravel road where someone could sneak in and let a dog go, undetected.
We hugged our dog and kept saying, "Its really him. He's really back. God really heard our prayer."
"Boys! God heard our prayer. He did a miracle. He brought Oscar back. His Spirit helped Oscar find us."
What a blessing. Through this very sad and desperate experience, which I'd never want to repeat, our boys felt the love of their very real, heavenly Father. They saw their parents pleading and praying to God, and they saw that God responded.
There are so many metaphors I could bring out...how God is desperate for all his creation to return to him and know him...how he's a loving God who wants to give good gifts to his children.....that his Spirit is working and powerful...
Now, if you aren't a dog lover you may not realize how amazing this whole experience was. You may be mumbling, "Um, its just a dog." But, it was our dog and is our dog. And I continue to be grateful that he has been returned to his rightful place in our family.