Those of you who know me or who read my blog regularly, will probably guess that the title of this week’s entry refers to my dog, Jack. Jack is so affectionate and playful. He loves meeting with other dogs, playing chase, splashing in puddles, and engaging in important sniffing pursuits.
A few days ago, Jack met two other dogs, a lab and a poodle, in the recreational field where we often take him to run and play. The lab’s owner was standing near the poodle’s owner. The dogs were running together. Jack saw them and joined in on the fun. I walked over to the other women and said hello. They said hello but resumed their conversation with each other.
The lab sauntered up to the woman who owned the poodle. Jack followed. “What a lovely dog,” she spoke to the other lab and patted her on the head. “You want a treat, don’t you,” the woman said. Her poodle, the other lab, and my Jack all three lined up for the anticipated treats. The woman gave a treat to her poodle, then to the lab, speaking kindly to both, and then zipped up the treat bag. She ignored my boy. Their treats eaten, the other two dogs ran off to play some more. Jack looked slightly puzzled, still looking expectantly at the woman who continued to ignore him. He hadn’t been a nuisance in any way and had played nicely with the other two.
I quietly walked over while the two women talked on in oblivion, hooked Jack up to his lead, and gently led him away. I patted him, telling him he’s a good boy. He was smiling, tongue out, tail wagging, already forgetting he didn’t get a treat, but I was hurt. On the drive home I could have easily let tears fall from my eyes for how my boy was treated. I surprised myself at how hurt I felt.
All through the day and into the next I kept thinking about it. Then, a thought came to me. When you and I are ill treated, how does our Heavenly Father feel about it? Does He hurt for us just like I hurt for Jack? I was convinced He must. Hence, I began a search. I didn’t have to look long when the following verse in Isaiah 41:10 jumped at me in a fresh way, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.“
The phrase, “right hand,” is mentioned 166 times in the Bible. It always represents authority, strength, and blessing. When you and I are hurt, treated badly, or ill treated in any manner, our Heavenly Father, because of His deep love for each of us, holds us with His hand of authority, giving strength, and blessing. If I hurt so terribly for my dear dog, His hurt for us is immeasurable. The next time you are treated unkindly or unfairly, know of a certainty, Father is holding your hand.
When I got Jack back home from the field, he got a good treat from me, and lots of hugs as I held him close with my right arm, stroking him with my right hand, holding him — imagining Father holding me, too.