“His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22b-23
Have you recently lost someone you loved? The grief can be overwhelming, especially after this devastating pandemic that continues to linger. We’ve all experienced the sorrow of losing loved ones to cancer, heart disease, and other tragedies.
How do you say good-bye? For good?
We lost a family member this afternoon…not a person, but a faithful friend who lived with us nearly eight years and had become the fifth member of our household—our beloved dog, Darcy.
Darcy was my constant companion, my writing partner, my walking buddy, my hiking chum. She followed me around the house, sat at my feet, and listened intently to everything I said, actually comprehending a good deal of it—schnauzers are reported to recognize well over 200 words. She kept a faithful vigil at our front windows, and I knew when her canine friends passed by—she would warble little barks of friendly conversation.
Darcy was such a gentle soul, a comfort in times of discouragement, and at night, a warm “heartbeat at my feet,” as Edith Wharton said. She wasn’t demanding. The simple promise of a treat would send her little stump tail quivering with anticipation.
We found out two-and-a-half years ago that Darcy had cancer…and she survived it much longer than we ever expected. She had a wonderful, full life with us, totally loved and adored.
If you’ve never had a little dog, the words of Matthew 15:21-28 may not resound with you the same way they do with me after knowing Darcy. In this passage, Jesus encountered a woman from another culture, a Syro-Phoenician, whose daughter was demon-possessed. As she pleaded with Him to heal her daughter, He offered a test…saying that He had been called first to serve the Jews:
But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Her desperate reply revealed her humility and faith, her persistent hunger for even the “crumbs” of blessings that only Jesus could give.
How many times I have watched our little dog diligently searching for anything that might have fallen on our kitchen or dining room floor! Schnauzers (whose name comes from the German word for “snout”) have highly sensitive noses. Darcy would find every tiny crumb accidentally or deliberately dropped to her. Every tidbit of apple or bread was manna from heaven.
Oh, that we were like “little Darcys” in our faith! She taught me so much in my own walk with the Lord. She would lie every morning and evening in my husband’s arms, completely at peace…just as we should rest in the arms of Jesus.
Her love and affection were new and fresh every day, bounding with joy and anticipation of spending the day with our family. Her adoring attention was always fixed on my face, wanting to see if I found pleasure in her, if I would hold her, stroke her face, or reward her in some way. She simply wanted to be with me.
How do you say good-bye to a friend like that?
As our family laid her to rest in our backyard where she loved to roam, we held candles in the dark and said a prayer of thanksgiving to God for her good life and the blessing she had been to us. And I prayed that I would honor her memory by reflecting more on the goodness of my faithful Master and love Him in the same, humble way.
The days ahead will be empty of little paw-patters and barking. But as I listen for her, I hope to remember that God is still my faithful Master, my companion at whose feet I should abide…whose words and commands I should treasure…who is worthy of my complete and utterly-selfless love. Maybe this is the way to say good-bye to Darcy, for my good.
I pray that we may all be like the woman whom Christ commended for her great, truly humble faith. May we all seek His face with joy every morning and rest at His feet in peace at night. May we all diligently look for His blessings and healing love, as “little dogs” at their Master’s table.
God, you have given us great friends in our canine companions, teaching us so much about how much You care for us and how much we should love You. Give us the kind of faith that depends completely on You. Comfort us in our times of sorrow, and remind us that Your mercies and joy are new every morning. May we rest completely in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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