The Scary Washing Machine

My washing machine is one that fits under the counter in my kitchen.  The kitchen is also where Jack finds his food and water bowls.  Both bowls are kept clean and fresh to take care of his hunger and thirst needs.  Throughout the day he can be heard happily munching or slurping away.

The other evening I became aware of Jack whimpering.  I looked to see what was the matter.  He was standing at the kitchen door and peering into the room with a very sad look on his face.  “Jack,” I called out, “what’s the matter?”  He looked at me and whimpered again so I got up to investigate.  Immediately I realized the problem.

Jack doesn’t like noises.  I had forgotten that he doesn’t like going into the kitchen when the washing machine is operating. It whirs and spins and gurgles; not his favorite sounds.  As I came closer he looked up hopefully as if to say, “will you go with me, please?” I did.

In Jack’s eyes I was some kind of super hero, bravely facing the big, bad, noisy washing machine.  As I stood in front of the white atrocity, Jack walked over and began to eat from his bowl.  Once in a while he looked up.  “Im still here, boy,” I assured my furry companion. I smiled and felt good all over to know that just my presence, in the midst of what causes him fear, could be such a great comfort to him.

As I stood guard waiting for him to finish his dinner I began to thank Father that He does the exact same thing with us.  He doesn’t chide or become exasperated when we are fearful.  No, He lovingly whispers His words of love like, “I will never leave you or forsake you,”  (Hebrews 13:5) or “I the Lord your God will go before you,  I will neither fail you or abandon you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6)  

I take great comfort in knowing that as this world spins chaos loudly like a washing machine cycle that seems to be endless, He is right there with me, smiling, comforting, loving, just like I do for my goofy but dear dog, Jack.

The Dog Whimpered and Quivered

Recently, at the animal hospital where my mother and I have the pleasure of working two days a week, a little dog was admitted who had to have one of her back legs amputated.  The surgery had already been completed when I arrived one morning.  I peered into the cage and was met with two deep brown eyes staring into mine.  Then I saw her body quivering.  I spoke some soothing words and walked away to tend to other things that needed to be done.

Some moments later, a sound of whimpering filled the air.  I looked around, scanning the cages with our various canine and feline patients, and discovered the whimpering came from our amputee.  I walked over and spoke words of comfort once more.  The whimpering did not stop; neither did the quivering.

Opening the cage, I began to stroke the little dog, speaking kind words, looking into her eyes.  After stroking the dog for several moments, she stood up.  I praised her for her bravery at standing on only three legs.  She took a step closer to me, turned sideways, and leaned her weight onto me.  I was so touched at this gesture of trust.  It was also a cry for help.  “Make me feel better,” I could almost hear her say.  Her entire weight was leaning against me.  If I had stepped away, she would have fallen to the floor.  I stroked some more and then gently pushed her back inside and closed the door.

Throughout the morning, every time I looked at the dog, she was watching me.  If I would come near, she stood in readiness for more stroking and leaning.  At one time I took her outside for a little walk.  She strutted around in great confidence, as if she didn’t know she was missing a leg.  She sniffed here and there with every appearance of dog happiness.

When I returned her to her cage, she licked my hand, then turned sideways again for some more leaning and stroking.  I obliged with great joy.  When the time came for me to leave for the day, it was with some sadness that I told her goodbye.  Of course, I couldn’t go without just one more minute of leaning.  It was a sweet moment for both of us.

I kept thinking about the dog as I drove home that day.  It came to me that we humans are not unlike the scared little dog who, as far as she could understand, went to sleep with four legs, and woke up with three!  How many times do unexpected things take place in our lives, leaving us perplexed, causing us to ask with no little amount of bewilderment, how on earth did that happen?  Perhaps the unexpected incident scares us and makes us fearful of what tomorrow might bring.  We discover that inwardly we are whimpering and quivering.

The little dog received comfort when she leaned close, putting all her weight onto me.  We can do the same.  The instruction is given to us in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.”  

When difficulties arise, it is a common, human response to try and sort through it ourselves.  We definitely lean on our own understanding.  While God has given us brains with which to think and reason, He has not made us infallible.  We are always capable of mistake.  Therefore, isn’t it best to lean upon Him who never gets it wrong, who has all the right words of comfort, who holds all the strength we need, who is the author of peace?

When we lean upon our own understanding, we are only subject to possible insight to solve our problems; but when we lean on Almighty God, we lean on the One who guides us along right paths, not some of the time, but all of the time.  When we lean on Him, His comfort floods into our troubled souls and the whimpering and quivering ceases to be.