Every weekday morning I get up early and take a walk with our Dachsund, Laney, in tow. Dachsunds are definitely in the hounddog family. Laney's nose never quits.
I normally go the same route but this morning I decided to follow Laney for the little bit of time she actually wanted to lead. We took off on a different route. When I reached the local park after making the mandatory stops at various bushes and pulling out the handy bag for the deposit that was laid I suddenly heard my name being called. Usually on my walks I encounter the same cast of characters all who say "good morning" but none who would use my name. I guess we're too bleary-eyed to learn names at that hour of the morning.
To actually hear my name, then, was surprising. I looked up and saw the face of a person who went to our church years ago but no longer attends. This person explained they did not normally come to the park at this hour but had experienced the untimely death of a close family member,had come this morning to see the sunrise and spend time with God. The person added that now they realized there was a deeper purpose and asked if I would pray for the situation. We prayed and then I realized they wanted to talk a little more. We looped the park, I expressed my sympathy, commited to pray and we went our separate ways.
Many years ago a magazine was published called "The Wittenburg Door." It was a magazine that challenged one's thinking and poked fun at the non-important stuff of church life. They regularly ran a cartoon called, "Dogs Who Know the Lord." It was their purpose to point out the ways we can assign too much importance to animals.
I don't know what goes through Laney's mind on a day-to-day basis but I do know this morning she led me to somebody in need. Does this mean I will always count on the dog to lead me to a person in need? Probably not, but this is not the first time I have had pastoral visits on dog walks. I guess, in some way, she does know the Lord. He created her too and through the event of early this morning, before my mind was awake, God reminded me it is important to be available and flexible when we live for Him. Walking with God will inevitably create opportunities to care for his people. Am I ready? Are you ready?