Puppies and Promises

 

A girl and her dog

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. ­–Psalm 139:9–10 NKJV

My 37-year-old daughter Jaime loves dogs. Her heart especially goes out to shelter dogs—the ones who have had a rough start to life. That’s where she got Tess, her 14-year-old German Shepherd-Golden Lab mix, when Tess was two.

Due to her age, Tess has many health issues, and Jaime does her best to keep her as comfortable and healthy as possible under the circumstances. When the time comes for Tess to cross Rainbow Bridge, the void in the family’s hearts and home will send Jaime back to the shelter to adopt another puppy.

“Puppies,” Jaime said, “are my way of knowing that, no matter how bad things get, everything is going to be okay.”

A good quote to remember as we face a new year.

While we don’t know the specifics, we do know the New Year will bring both grief and joy, disappointment and hope, trials and triumphs.

Puppies, in Jaime’s eyes, are the promise of joy, hope, and triumph.

We, too, have promises we can count on to see us through the grief, disappointment, and trials the New Year holds—the promises in God’s Word. And since the Author is faithful, we know His Word can be trusted (2 Timothy 2:13).

We have the promise of His LOVE—unconditional, undeserved, unlimited. A love we can count on no matter how awful we’ve behaved or think we are, a love that reaches to the skies (Psalm 36:5). His arms are always open to receive us. All we have to do is come home to Him (Luke 15:11–32).

We have the promise of His GRACE—a grace that will see us through the tough times, unanswered prayers, and heavy burdens. We are never alone as we trudge through the deep, dark, endless valleys that are sure to come. “My grace is sufficient,” God tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So when we are weak, He is strong. The weaker we become, the stronger He becomes.

We have the promise of His MERCY—forgiveness for the asking, and even when we don’t ask. A new start every day. Renewed hope. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21–23 RSV).

And those aren’t all. We have the promises of His protection (Psalm 3:3), His presence (Exodus 33:14, Hebrews 13:5), and His provision (Philippians 4:19).

That He hears and answers our prayers, whether or not we see the answers we want, no matter how long we have to wait (Psalm 50:15).

Puppies and promises. No matter how bad things may get, I know that things will be okay because my God holds me, my family, and my future—every day, every moment—in the palm of His hand. Indeed—we are engraved there! (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Thank You, Father, that whatever the New Year brings, I can face all things through the One who gives me strength—Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 139

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

On What Does Your Faith Rest?

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Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. —Isaiah 40:28 (ESV)

“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” —Exodus 34: 6 (ESV)

I went steady with Mike for three months during the spring of my sophomore year in high school. Then, on the bus after our class picnic in June, he gave me a note.

“Don’t read this now,” he whispered. “But when you do, remember I’ll always love you no matter what.”

Dummy me believed him. Even after I read the “Dear Michele” letter. Even when I heard through the grapevine he was chasing a cheerleader. I put my faith in his promise and clung to those words all summer long. It wasn’t until school started in the fall that I learned of his deceit.

Broken promises. Broken hearts. Peter, too, made a promise he didn’t keep. He told Jesus he’d never desert Him, even if he had to die with Him. A few hours later, Peter denied three times he even knew Jesus, cursing and swearing to emphasize his point. All it took was one look from Jesus, and remorse flooded his soul. Weeping bitterly, he rushed out of the courtyard a broken man. The next time we read of Peter, though, he’s racing to the empty tomb. Peter never deserted his Lord again.

“God often uses our deepest pain as a launching pad for our greatest calling” (Daily Inspirational Quote). He did for Peter, and He’ll do it for us, too. But we have to muddle through pain, confusion, despair, guilt, self-recrimination—and often endure the silence of God while we struggle to find the light of hope.

Remember Job? A man whom God Himself described as “the finest man in all the earth . . . blameless—a man of complete integrity” (Job 1:8 NLT). In Job’s time of deepest need, God was silent, seemingly absent. God might have been silent, but He wasn’t absent—it only seemed that way.

When our pain and grief are overwhelming, when we can’t figure out what we did to deserve this, when we wonder where God is, our faith can falter. We wonder what good it does to believe the promises we find in God’s Word.

But is our faith in the promises? Or in the Person who made them?

“Faith,” wrote A. W. Tozer, “must rest on the character of God.” You see, a promise is only as good as the character of the person making it.

Because I have faith in God—in who and what He is, in His character—I have faith that He will keep His promises. Every single one of them.

In the dark times—in the dark night of the soul—remind me that You will never leave me or forsake me, not just because You promised, but because of Who You are. Amen.corrie ten boom 1

Read and meditate on Matthew 26:31–35, 69–75