A friend recently gave our dog, Jack, a giant toy giraffe. Well, it’s a giant to Jack at 18 inches (45cm) long, the longest of all his toys. Jack loves that giraffe. Every night he runs down the hall to bring his giraffe to bed. He shakes it, fleeces it, and goads me to throw it down the hall so he can retrieve it before he settles down with giraffe as his pillow. We have great fun with giraffe, but this morning I have taken giraffe, along with all his other toys, and have put them away. Jack can’t have giraffe for a whole month.
Many of you reading are praying much for Jack as he has surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor on his left gum. The surgery is rather extensive, removing three teeth, along with the bone above. The surgeon explained this is the best way to insure the cancer doesn’t return. She also assured us with confidence, that in a month Jack will be playing with his toys, eating his normal food again, and chewing his bones and peanut butter sticks. Until then, soft mushy food is all that is on the menu. No bones, no sticks, no toys.
Yesterday morning my mother and I were playing with Jack, knowing the plans we had for him. He, of course, didn’t have a clue. We put him in the car. He probably assumed we were going to the park, but we took him to the animal hospital. Jack didn’t know we were leaving him there, but we knew the plans in full. He has no idea today that he’s going to have a major operation, but we are completely aware of what is about to happen to our Jack. When it’s all over, we will bring him home, feed him what he needs, cuddle and soothe him, and love him back to good health. The cancer will be gone and Jack will be in good health once again. None of the above is in his mind, but we know all the plans.
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you. It’s the exact same with all God’s children. Today we may be happily going along our way. Life is good, seemingly problem free. All is well — today — but we don’t know the plans for tomorrow. What might Father allow in our lives tomorrow, in the next hour? Is there something inside of us that needs to be changed? Perhaps it’s just a matter of making us even stronger in our trust and faith in Him; helping us to be more like Jesus Himself, taking on the Family resemblance. Will Father take us to the operating room? Will it hurt for a while? Perhaps, but you and I know, like Jack happily and trustingly walked into the animal hospital, we can happily and trustingly walk wherever our Father leads us. The path may be hard, but the results promise to be one full of spiritual health and strength. There is no earthly joy to compare with the results of our Father’s leading. Plus, unlike my mother and I concerning Jack, we can’t be with him on the surgeon’s table today. Our Father, however, never leaves us. When we must travel a painful path, be assured He is right there with us, carrying us when needed.
In His perfect and deep love for us, the Lord is always speaking these words over each one, “‘I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.'”
Whatever may be difficult for us today or tomorrow, we must remember, Father is there, too, leading, molding, comforting, arranging matters for our very best. May you and I always be quick to say, “He knows the way that I take. When He has tried me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) If Jack can trust the plans we have for him, surely we can do the same with God and His plans for us. After all, His plans never fail, and always turn out for our very best. One last thought — if my mother and I hurt for what we know Jack is going through — doesn’t Jesus, who knows all our pain, hurt for us, too? Oh, what love!