I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. -Joel 2:25-26, ESV
This is one of the ways that I know Hope is real and worth having despite any heartbreak that may come.
When we took our Christmas tree down from the attic this year, it had to pass the smell test. That is because last year Henry, our large foster dog, took one look at it, all set up in the living room, lifted his hind leg, and sprayed it down with the best pee he could muster. We cleaned it as much as we could, but you never know what a year in the attic will do, so yes, we gave it the smell test and decided it’s good for another year.
Poor Henry sprayed a lot in our house. He had an anxiety issue- any time he felt anxiety, out came the pee. We’d had him since October and kept him until February. (It was only supposed to be a few weeks, don’t you know). We prayed a lot about a home for that dog; we knew it just wasn’t our house!
Getting that tree down reminded me of the remarkable home Henry is in now. Would you believe! A dog trainer who works with combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder met Henry and thought he could make something out of him. So he took him over to meet a vet and his family. They worked and worked together to help Henry and his new master feel at ease and secure together. Before long, Henry’s veteran was able to take Henry to places I could have never imagined taking this peeing dog. And the veteran could’ve never imagined that he would again be able to go to the mall, the grocery store, or his children’s school without great anxiety. They are now best buds who go literally everywhere together.
Poor Henry, who was a stray off the streets, had a bad leg from his rough puppyhood, and the time came when that leg needed surgery. Would you believe! The community rallied around this human/dog pair and raised the money for Henry, the distinguished, holding-his-bladder service dog, to have the surgery. Henry and his hero are back to sporting about town, taking on life, together. Both have had their lives, the lives God intended for them to have, restored by our God.
God takes away our shame! And the tree is okay too. Would you believe! Another reason why hope is worth having.