Paralyzed Dog Teaches Life Lesson

Leave it to the Lord to use a paralyzed dog to teach me yet another lesson about learning to walk by faith. When He led me to drive a long distance to rescue a dog in a rural Georgia shelter that had been hit by a car, I knew virtually nothing about her. I was told she likely had a broken pelvis that would probably heal without surgery. I quickly learned she had a back shattered so badly that two veterinarians recommended euthanization. But God was about to begin yet another lesson in faith when He spoke these words to me. “Do not give up on her.” How could I give up on this sweet dog Mercy when God in His infinite mercy has never given up on me? So began teaching Mercy and me together a lesson in endurance.

In the three weeks that I have had Mercy in my life, Mercy and I have been learning together how to persevere in trials in which it would seem so much easier to quit. As one-year-old Mercy had to learn a brand new lifestyle of life without her natural mobility, including going to the bathroom with my needing to express her bladder and anal glands, I have been facing my own personal trial of learning how to endure when everything in me screams, “Quit!”

But alas, neither one of us has quit so far. Not that we both haven’t considered it. Mercy didn’t move much in the beginning; her pain was too great. I haven’t moved much in my faith walk at times because the emotional pain hurt more than I felt I could bear. Even when Mercy’s pain passed, she seemed resistant to learning how to live life in a new, and vastly, different way. Even when my pain passed, I have been reluctant to learn how to live my life given the change in my own circumstances. But as much as we both cried, “I quit!” in our own human and canine ways, God wouldn’t give up on encouraging me forward. And God wouldn’t let me quit on encouraging her to do the same. Both of us have been learning, together, to walk forward with the Lord – by faith.

How different our lives are now than we ever expected. We have had to learn to walk without what we relied on before. We are learning to walk by putting our trust in our provider. I cannot walk through this life without placing my trust in God; it is simply too challenging. And Mercy cannot walk without placing her trust in me, whom God has equipped to help her.

As I have learned how to bend over her body and express her bladder, or to lean down low to fit her body into the wheelchair handed down to her by Walk by Faith Ministry’s two-legged dog Winnie, Mercy has had to learn how to trust me to help her walk. We are both learning to walk in a brand new way.

Despite the times we both felt too defeated and exhausted to get back up and practice our walking, the Lord has encouraged me to get up and walk. And He has encouraged me to encourage her to get up and do the same. She is learning to walk with her new wheels once I set her on them. And I am learning how to walk by placing my trust in Jesus Christ.

Just yesterday, I was exhilarated when Mercy took her first mini-lap around the yard in her wheelchair. I was so filled with the joy of the Lord I felt my heart overflowing with His love. Today, I left her in her wheelchair for a very short time to put the wash in the laundry. When I turned back to where I had left her, I was utterly shocked to see she had decided on her very own to move her wheelchair through a much rougher terrain to exactly where she knew she would find me.

As a loved one told me long ago when he saw a dog shot through the spinal column drag her body in my direction every time she saw me move on the very same day I rescued her, Jesus Christ wants us to live our lives with our eyes and heart on Him. As I watched Mercy’s incredible effort to follow me today in her wheelchair, I saw the endurance the Lord has shown me lately that I so desperately need in my own life.

Each day, Mercy has grown stronger. Sometimes she has a setback. But overall, she hasn’t quit. She hasn’t given up. She hasn’t stopped trying. And her endurance is paying off as each day she gains more freedom and more fully enjoys her new life.

I have not had the easiest life, and some of my challenges remain. But I am fully assured if I put my trust in my provider and follow Him where He calls, relying on the strength He gives me, I will experience the same joy of learning to walk by faith not just for the short term – but for the long haul.

Thank you God for your mercy, thank you God for Mercy, and thank you for teaching us both to walk by faith. Amen. 

Php 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

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