Several years ago our precious Great Pyrenees dog named Bear died on Christmas day from a flipped stomach. It was terrible and one of my daughters said to me, “Mom, why would God allow Bear to die on Christmas day. Now we are always going to remember this sad day when we celebrate Christmas.” I didn’t know what to say or do, so I said lets pray that God would bring some sort of redeeming factor from this tragedy.
Now of course I had no idea what God may do, and I didn’t think it was in God’s plan to raise Bear from the dead, but we trusted that God could bring something good from this loss. After the holidays we began searching the internet for a dog. We wanted a mastiff this time, since we already had another mastiff. We finally found a dog who had been rescued just a few days before Christmas. The shelter named the dog Angel , and she seemed to be the perfect fit for our family. I quickly filled out all the paperwork to adopt the dog, but received no reply.
Finally I approached them again and they said they need to have someone come down from Oklahoma to do a house visit. Well we were four hours away and they were having trouble finding someone, but I had a solution! Our house was on the market so I just sent the pictures on line of our house, and I included my website (which has a picture of me with my other mastiff). I immediately heard a response! The woman in charge of adoption had just been searching for some books to encourage her as a mom and kept coming across my books on the internet. Now here I was – the author- emailing her personally.
As you can imagine, we were immediately approved for adoption, but what is more important is that I had the opportunity to make a connection with a precious mom who needed to know God cared about her. God cared about the details of her life so much that he had the author of the book contact her. Of course I sent her several books right away! She emailed later that this was a tremendous coincidence. I emailed her back saying this was God’s work and that He loves and cares for her.
God did bring redemption from a sad situation! See picture of Angel below.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I know that for some people it is difficult to celebrate and be thankful. We can’t ignore the fact that many people have lost their jobs and are struggling financial. Others are struggling in difficult relationships or with a wayward child, and some are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
This past week, here in Texas, we had the terrible and senseless loss of 13 lives at Fort Hood. Our hearts go out to the families of those who were slain and our prayers are with those who are still struggling with injuries. At times like these it is easy to think there is nothing to be thankful for, and yet even in the midst of difficulty, tragedy and loss there are some things for which we can give thanks.
In my own life, my dear mother was sadly killed at the young age of 55 during this time of year. Certainly we do not give thanks for the terrible loss, but we can be thankful for God’s comfort and care. The Bible says, “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them and delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17,18)
In our situation, we thanked God for providing wonderful people to come to our side and comfort us. We thanked God for the blessing that my mother’s life was to all of us, and how she blessed so many people with her godly heart. We thanked God that many people turned back to God as a result of my mother’s sudden death, because they too saw the brevity of life.
God’s Word offers us strength and comfort in times of difficulty. Just this morning I read Psalm 107. I encourage you to read it to your kids:
1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
We may not understand why the Lord has allowed trials in our lives, but we can trust His unfailing love. He is our provider. Look to him and seek His help through your pain and struggles. Like the Psalmist, we can thank the Lord for His unfailing love in our life and thank Him for His care for us each day.
Here's a picture of the girls with Angel on the Christmas after we lost Bear.