September 6, 2014
I do not usually start my Spiritual entries with a story, but am today.
I chose to do it this way because I think sharing the story first will
help us to remember what is important; help us to remember
that which the Lord would not wish us to ever forget.
There was a man whose neighbor was an elderly woman. She'd been a very
good neighbor- he knew her well. This woman was without a husband or
children. Her only companion was a dog, a dog she loved more than anything
else in the world. One day, this man was driving home, was very tired, so not
quite as attentive as he should have been and ran over her dog. He felt terrible!
Shaking, feeling heartsick over what he had done, he dreaded facing the woman.
But, after taking a few deep breaths, and giving himself a few minutes to regain
control of his emotions, he picked up the dog and carried it to the neighbor's
house. Being in poor health, it took a few minutes for the woman to come to
the door. When she finally did, there stood the man, her dead dog cradled in
"I am so sorry." he told her, tears filling his eyes, his voice shaky.
"I was very tired, was not as alert as I should have been and hit him. "
"It's alright." the woman said. "I keep telling him not to chase cars, but
he did it anyway. If you hadn't hit him somebody else would have. But I can't
bury him. Would you help me do that?"
"Of course. "the man said, and promptly dug a hole and buried her beloved
dog next to the Oak tree. The woman, seeing how distressed the poor man still
was, patted his shoulder and said," Really. It is alright. "
The man went home, and that night could not sleep; he kept thinking of what
a horrible thing he had done. He was weighed down with guilt over it; kept
thinking of how this dear lady would now be forced to go through life without
her beloved companion.
"She must have been in shock." he said to himself. "I don't think she knows
her dog is really dead." He went to the big Oak tree, where the dog was buried,
dug it up, and carried it back to the house. When the woman came to the door
he held the dog out to her and asked, "Do you realize what I did? I mean really?
Do you understand that your dog will no longer be with you?"
" Yes." she said."
The man buried the dog again, went home, and again started thinking about
the woman, about how lonely she'd be without her dog. "Surely, she doesn't
realize her dog is dead." he told himself. "She is quite old now, and obviously
in denial. I have to make certain she knows he is gone. I have too!
He returned to the Oak tree, dug the dog up and once again showed it to the
"I am so sorry I killed your dog." he said. " So sorry you will be without
The woman, old as she was, saw the sadness weighing upon him. Again
she tried to reassure him. "You don't have to keep saying you are sorry
I know you didn't mean to kill him. And I forgive you."
Even after hearing she forgave him, the man dug that dog up for two weeks.
This story is about you- and about me. It is about God's grace, and how
too many of us don't truly understand what it is, and how it works, which
is why so many of us are still carrying around so much shame, worry, fear,
guilt, insecurities. Sometimes we don't even recognize when grace is at
work in our lives. For instance: The times we've made a mess out of our lives,
or something really tragic happened, and we keep praying about it, keep
saying to God "Please Lord, fix this for me. I can't handle this. It's too hard.
We have not understood that God is trying to work out some things
within us. Sometimes God can't answer our prayers because we keep
talking, pleading, getting in His way, telling him just how we need,
or want this problem to be fixed. We seldom heed his WORDS to
"Be still and know I am God."
God is so patient while working with us; has to put up with our fears,
our doubts, our worries, our need to control, our constant "But Lord,
what if's?" Think about some of the trials He has seen you through.
Messed up as you were (as we all were), He brought us through, didn't he?
That is because of God's great love for us...HIS GRACE.
Grace creates masterpieces out of the mess we make of our life.
Grace so changes a man (or woman), that people who have known
them all their lives scarcely recognize them.
Grace forgives, comforts, directs, restores.
Grace holds us steady and at peace midst the chaos in the world.
Grace is love in action, and there is no love as great as the Lord's.
I shared this story with you because I know that many of you are as
this man, still carrying around guilt and shame over past mistakes.
I was this man for many years. It was about three years ago that I realized
what I was doing. I can't tell you how horrible that made me feel.
Jesus gave his life for me, covered my sins by his love- his grace, and yet
I continued to grieve over all I'd done. My constant grieving, constant
pleading for forgiveness was as bad as spitting in his face, acting as if
his sacrifice was worth nothing.
Nobody enjoys reminding us of the horrible things we've done more
than Satan. I determined not to let him do this to me any more.
Not ever! There are times still, when he tries to imprison me again by
reminding me of the, horrible mistakes I made. But each time he
does, I remind myself about the man and his dog.
It is my prayer that this story helps some of you realize what I did,
that the Lord's words are not as ours. When HE says I forgive you
HE means it. And not only does he forgive us, God says once he
forgives us he will not remember our sins; they are forgotten.
Hope this story is as great a blessing to you as it was to me.
I pray you may always experience the warmth of God's love,
the honor of His presence, and the tightness of his embrace.
Love you much,