A few weeks ago, a stray Rat Terrier showed up at our house having obviously been severely mistreated. None of us could touch her or even get near her. You could tell she was hungry and even wanted some affection, but was afraid to let us close enough to help her.
We started putting some food out for her and tried not to make any sudden or threatening gestures around her, hoping we could temporarily help her. Having just recently given away our previous dog to our son and daughter-in-law, I was really happy to be dog-free for the first time in over 30 years.
However, my daughter Ashley and her two sons Bryant (2 ½ yrs) and Bradyn (1 yr) who live with us, had a lot more time and desire to befriend the dog and make her our new family pet. After a couple of weeks, Ashley could almost touch her. The Dog seemed to really be attentive to the boys and acted as if she wanted to play with them, but just could not bring herself to get that close. If one of the boys cried, the dog would come closer as if she wanted to make sure he was okay. She would sometimes jump and wag her tail like she wanted to play, but still no touch.
After about three weeks, Ashley told me she thought the dog was pregnant. I glanced at her the next morning but did not see any what we cattlemen call “uddering up”, so I just ignored it. A week later while I was taking a team to the airport to fly out to Venezuela, Ashley called to tell me we had three new puppies. (Oh what a joy! A dog we cannot touch, who does not like me, just had three puppies right beside my front porch—and to top it all off, all three pups were females!) When I got home and glanced over the rail to see them, she just growled.
Within just a few days, all of the pups were named and both of my grandsons and Ashley were holding them several times each day while their mother was away. Dora, Lucy and Roxy, three fine pedigreed pups I’m sure—and with a long future at my house!
Just this past weekend when the pups were almost three weeks old, just old enough for their eyes to open, but too young to make it on their own, Ashley told me the mama dog was acting sick, walking stiff legged, panting, and falling down when she tried to walk. I went to look at her, but she could still walk just enough to move away from me and since she still would not let us touch her, I was not about to try to catch her. I told Ashley that my guess was that she had milk fever which is caused by a calcium deficiency, (since her symptoms were the same as a cow with milk fever), but that she could have rabies or anything, so stay away from her until she died or got better.
Well that was practical wasn’t it? There was no need to risk our health or the health of our grandchildren for a dog we did not know and who would not let us touch her. Besides, if I did catch her, it could cost several hundred dollars for an IV treatment that might not work if the pups continued to nurse.
A couple of hours later, Ashley came and woke me up again to tell me the dog could not move and was trapped in the gold fish pond. Well, what could I do except get out of bed and find a stick to lift the dog and place her on the ground. I told Ashley to go to bed and let the dog die in peace; there was nothing I could do.
Well, with a mother’s heart, Ashley, with tears in her eyes, said Dad, we have to do something! I know she is laying there worrying about her babies in the front yard and wanting to be with them. I know they are hungry and I know she wants to be with them!
Okay, I’m a softy. I told Ashley to get one of her mama’s calcium tablets so we could dissolve it and if the dog would let us, we would try to administer it by my mouth with a syringe. The dog was indeed too weak to move, so I held her head while Ashley gently administered the calcium. Now I said, we have done everything we can do, go to bed and we will see what happens.
Ashley was still not satisfied because she knew the puppies were hungry. I tried to explain to her that they were too young for feed and anything else we tried to give them, like regular milk would cause them more harm than good. Again with tears, she said; Dad, you know we have to do something.
So, she mixed up some rice baby cereal , and I told her to put a little sugar water in it, and she fed them all until they were satisfied.
The next morning, Ashley ran outside expecting to see the dog dead in the backyard, but instead, she found her nursing her pups by the front door.
I tell this story to illustrate the uniqueness of the love of a Mother. So much of this story reminds me of God’s love for us and how He so clearly demonstrates and fulfills the love of a Mother and a Father.
I am not writing this to bring to question the gender of God, but to illustrate the magnificent, unending, relentless, heartfelt, compassionate love He has for each of us, especially when we are hurting, when we are alone, when we need Him the most—even when we are un-touchable and undeserving of His love and mercy.
I see the love of a Mother and a Father in the life of Jesus, most exemplified in a popular painting of Jesus sitting on a hilltop overlooking the city of Jerusalem. He saw their sin, He saw their rejection of His affection, His provision, His Lordship, His mercy, and His ability and willingness to heal and to love them.
As He looked upon them, He wept and said : “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (MT 23:37)
Each of us is in need of God’s touch in our life. No matter what you have done or what others have done to you, you can come to Him and trust His love! His plans are to bless you—not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future that lasts for eternity.
Please do not wait until it is too late or until you suffer to the point you just cannot run any further. Allow Him to touch you, to heal you and love you. Ask Him to save you. Once you experience His loving touch, nothing else can compare.