Saturday, July 26, 2014

Entrusted With Brokenness

If you saw Chad Thursday you might have noticed a little extra spring in his step. Even though he was tired from a long week working out in the heat, his excitement couldn’t be hidden. After four years of being a man without a dog, soon we will finally be able to have a dog again. On Wednesday night we began the process of adopting through the Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue.

When I met Chad, he had a dog name Bruno who was a Ridgeback. Bruno cared so much about Chad that he was jealous when I came along. Unfortunately, Bruno passed away right before Chad and I were married and after being married about six months, we decided to adopt another Ridgeback.

Part of our love story was that we both had given up on dating the year before we met each other. I had been studying the book of Ruth and began outlining the character and qualities of Boaz as I prayed for my future husband.

Now, as a young married couple we were searching through the Ridgeback adoption webpage for our first dog. And there was his picture, it was a picture of a handsome slightly older dog who’s name was Boaz. “That’s the one!” I said. How cool and unusual for someone to give a dog the name “Boaz”? He has to be the dog for us!

We went through the process of adoption, brought Boaz home and began noticing some issues he had. He was no puppy and  had an intimidating look about him. Chad would leave for work every morning and that meant I was left alone all day with the steely glares of this hound that thought himself a lion hunter. The scars on his face and back even intensified his glare. 

To make friends, Boaz and I began a routine of taking a walk through the nature park every morning. We would both start strong, but about half way along the trail, Boaz would begin limping and try to run even with the crooked gate in his hind legs. Later, after a visit to the vet, we were informed that he must have suffered an injury of some kind to his hind leg that had not healed properly. The scarred hip caused him a lot of pain even though he was an active dog.

Boaz had a history as most adopted pets do. All Chad and I knew was his previous owner had moved and left him behind, until tonight when we received a phone call from the rescue coordinator.

On our new application it inquired about the dogs we had owned in the past. Chad had listed Boaz and our other Ridgeback, Ruthie on the application. Martha, with Ridgeback Rescue couldn’t wait to call us when she saw that we were the family who had adopted Boaz, because she had been his rescuer!

After introducing herself and asking a few questions, she asked if we wanted to know Boaz’s full history. Chad said, “Wait, my family is here. Let me put you on speakerphone. We all loved Boaz and they’ll want to hear his story too.”

My heart was broken as she shared how Boaz had been hit by a truck and had an infected wound when she found him. She took Boaz in after finding him abandoned by his owners who had tied him up and drove the moving truck away, leaving him there all alone.

By the end of her story, or more accurately, Boaz’s story we were all in tears. Boaz had been such a gift to our family, and now, knowing all  he had been through, I was even more thankful for the time we had him and the love he knew for the later part of his life.

Many times I become overwhelmed by the needs of the children, youth and adults we work with in the ministry. So many of them are easily cast aside by society and labeled unworthy because of the scars they bear. We have been told that the people we are helping will never be able to contribute back to us; so why don't we go find a group of people who have their pieces a little more "together"?  The call to love and compassion must not be seen as a burden to bear, but an honorable duty that has been entrusted to all followers of Jesus Christ. He entrusts us with the brokenness of this world and calls us to love, to be merciful, to pursue redemption just as He has done.

When we are called to love broken individuals, we don’t realize all they have been through. While we may look at the outward signs of abuse, neglect, hunger, poverty and dysfunction Jesus has compassion for the deeper wounds. He has seen the violent blows endured and heard the hate-filled words that bring pain long after the church van has pulled away. In response, the Holy Spirit fills us with a sense of urgency, sends us out and continues to make a way into the darkest places, even when we might otherwise grow weary and turn back.

My rescuer, Jesus, looked on me in my time of greatest need. Seeing how sin was ravaging my life, My Savior did not leave me abandoned, instead Christ demonstrated His great love by dying on the cross. I pray He will continue to entrust me with the broken so that I might love them in His name, and witness the glory of His miraculous redemption.

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