Today is Wednesday.
I type that with the certainty of a person who thought it was Wednesday all day yesterday. I got up, edited and published my Wednesday devotional and then suddenly remembered it was Tuesday. I went to my Tuesday staff meeting (thank God for that brief moment of clarity!) and then went to pick up my dog from the vet in the afternoon. Then at 5:00 I told my husband that it was time for our Wednesday night family ZOOM call. But it was still Tuesday.
Lest you think I was having a day-long senior moment, (a reasonable guess) I need to explain my lack of focus. On Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church, my 13 -year-old Labrador Retriever collapsed. I called some friends to help me get her in the car. I was able to check her in to an Animal Hospital, and with the very kind and knowledgeable help of Dr. Grossman, she was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease, and we brought her home late Tuesday afternoon. She is wobbly but well.
Those three days were a nightmare for me. I got a harsh reminder of what grief and anxiety feel like. From Sunday morning until she wobbled through the door yesterday, I was in physical and emotional pain. My chest and stomach actually hurt, and I could not keep my mind from going to all of the worst situations. I could not sleep, nor could I eat. Driving up the driveway knowing she would not be running to greet me at the door rendered me paralyzed to the point that I could not get out of the car for fifteen minutes that first day.
Yesterday morning, on my Wednesday/your Tuesday, I woke up to a much too quiet house and proceeded to upload my Wednesday devotional. My mind was spinning, but luckily, I had written it last week. As I worked on it, a large robin red breast perched on the railing right outside my window and sang his beautiful song to me. I stopped and watched him, thanking God for this gift of rare beauty in the midst of my emotional tsunami fog.I felt my heart lift just a tiny bit and I allowed my mind to envision bringing Georgia home and things returning to normal.
In other words, I began to feel hope.
We finally got the call that she had recovered enough to be brought home and I began to feel the deep knot unknot itself. Hope was then affirmed by spotting another red-breasted robin sitting on a hedge outside the vet’s office. God had been with me all along and these two bird sightings were like a sweet tap on the shoulder as he reminded me that he had never left me in those long hours of uncertainty.
Hope is the antidote to grief. Hope stands in the boxing ring with anxiety with its gloved fists raised and yells, “Give me your best shot.” Hope wipes out the fear of the worst thing happening. In the end, hope wins. Even if the worst thing had happened and we lost Georgia, I was reminded that thanks to the hope we have in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, I could look forward to that day of seeing her again, whole and restored. And ornery. Always ornery.
When we first got Georgia as a thirteen-week-old puppy, a vet told us that large pure bred dogs like her had a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years. She is thirteen and I know we are living on bonus time. The last three days were just a dress rehearsal for her inevitable curtain call. But somehow, I know that when it happens, peace will come at some point as I anticipate the reality of being reunited again.
Isaiah wrote a lot about hope, and this Scripture describes how I felt … except instead of eagles, I got robins:
Isaiah 40:31 (New Revised Standard Version)
But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
I don’t know what battles of hopelessness you are facing today, but I pray you will take this Scripture to heart. It is hard to wait when you don’t know the outcome, but Jesus reminded us that he is with us wherever we go, even to the land of hopelessness. So hang on! Your Redeemer comes.