How God used a Jack Russell Terrier to teach me about using hope to power through the hard times and gain a new lease on life.
We put our little Jack Russell Terrier, Rory, down last week. She was thirteen. What a way to start a blog article right? Stay with me, though, because there is a story behind her that has to do with your Kingdom Business that I want to share with you.
Hope for the Hard Times
Thirteen years ago we were in the hardest season of our lives. Our business was struggling like never before. We were broke, hurting, and getting rather desperate. Any business owners out there in the Body of Christ been in that place? I was beginning to question God for the first time in my life. If God was good where was he? If God was faithful why didn’t I see him in my everyday life? My trust was broken. My hope was pretty much gone.
Then along came Rory. Tim and I got Rory for our birthdays. She was a ball of fire from moment one. Toughest, strongest-willed, most-courageous little dog I had ever known. To say our Jack Russell Terrier was smart was an understatement. Tenacious beyond normal. Faster and more athletic than really necessary for a normal family dog!
Hope is Like a Hurricane
Because Rory was such a spitfire, she was always getting herself in trouble. Trouble like getting herself run over at the age of six months. No matter what we did to keep her in her dog run, she would not be fenced in. Somehow she always got out. Until one day she ended up in the road, having been run over by a hit-and-run driver, a little puddle of white fur sprawled out and paralyzed from a broken back. She couldn’t stand up, couldn’t walk, and was in shock.
The vet kept Rory overnight. But he didn’t give us much hope that she would survive the night. We figured we would be putting her down the next day.
The next morning Tim went back to the vet early, ready to put our dog down. She was having none of it! When Tim got to her kennel, she stood up and walked to him. No getting this feisty girl down. She was basically a three-legged dog from that moment on, one leg never healed correctly. But did that slow her down? Of course not!
Hope Expects Good Things
Rory began to represent hope to me. She was the embodiment of that word. She was my hope. You see God was teaching me a lesson through a Jack Russell Terrier. He demonstrated the hope of the Kingdom of God through my dog.
Over the next 12 years, that dog became my constant companion. I am an outside girl. I grew up in a mud-hut village in Africa. Don’t coupe me up inside. Give me the great outdoors. The same was true for Rory. There was nothing about that little dog that was foo foo. She was not a lap dog. She sort of tolerated being petted. But give her wide open spaces and she came alive. It was so therapeutic for me to watch her bombastic thrill of living her life to its fullest.
The morning after Rory was gone, I was reading my Bible and writing some thoughts down in my prayer journal, when I heard the Lord begin to speak to my heart a very clear message about my dog.
Excerpt From My Journal
I heard the Lord say: When Rory came into your life, your trust was broken and your hope was shattered. Rory defined hope for you. It was defined in a tenacious, never-give-up, strong-willed, determined, 25-pound dog. That’s how my hope is. It will never give up or give in. My hope tenaciously hangs on through every storm of life. It is strong willed and determined. Hope keeps its eyes on the prize. It has a joyful anticipation of good things to come.
I showed you for 13 years what my hope looks like. It is loyal. It is independent of what’s going on around you. It is focused. It is ruthless when it comes to making sure your territory is free of unwanted and harmful things.
My hope is much more than a definition in a dictionary. It is wild like a little Jack Russell who won’t back down until the prize is won. My hope always acts. It is not passive. It does not quit, irregardless of any situation or circumstance. It is always single minded and on purpose.
You have had this hope lived out in front of you. Let hope arise in you. Put a tenacious, never-give-up, stubborn, willful hope in me. I am trustworthy. Your hope will never be deferred if it is in me.
My hope runs free. It isn’t defined by your small thinking. It is powerful and limitless beyond what you could ask or think or imagine.
Let Hope Arise
God shows up in our lives in unusual ways if we will pay attention. He communicates through the Word of God but he also speaks in sunsets, gardens, and puppies. He uses the voices of those around us but he also uses books, dreams and that thought that won’t go away. He is talking. You might want to listen. It may be time to get your hopes up and let your faith arise.
Maybe you have learned hopelessness from enduring a desperately long season of trial and failure. It’s time to unlearn it and stop letting despair dictate your future. We serve a God of hope. And hope does not disappoint. It’s time to get up and try again. It’s time to hope big again. Put your trust in God. Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).