He bounded into camp and revolutionized our moods.
We were doing what we once enjoyed but hadn’t accomplished lately. My daughter and I left our car in a secluded parking lot, shouldered our backpacks, and hiked inland on the Foothills Trail to Pigpen Falls. Knowing our intended campsite’s popularity, we planned to get there early. After setting up camp, we sat around for a bit before walking a couple of miles down the Chattooga River Trail.
Our attempt to lift our somber mood wasn’t working too well until a black lab suddenly bounded into our camp with a hemlock cone dangling from his mouth. He dropped it at my daughter’s feet and stood back, tail wagging. She got the message and tossed it away. He retrieved. What he really wanted was for her to throw it in the water. As we walked down the Chattooga, he followed. She continued to throw, and he continued to retrieve.
At our turnaround point, we spotted a trout fisherman. So did the dog. Leaving us as quickly as he had come, he took up with the fisherman. Later, the owners passed our camp, and we were able to point them to the dog that had altered the atmosphere of our lives.
Like the psalmist, my daughter and I were searching. We had found God in the past, but we needed Him to show up in the present. Several years prior, I had watched as my family disintegrated before my eyes. I was still battling depression, disappointment, and confusion. My daughter was also suffering. She had lost a mother and was presently adjusting to college life.
While I don’t believe God is found in all things, I do think He shows up in shapes and forms we don’t always recognize. He refuses to be confined in a box. Though God wasn’t in the dog—or even transformed into one—He used the presence of the dog to bring momentary happiness and relief to two hurting people. God’s normal mode of operation is to show His love for His creations and His concern for the hurts or hard decisions they’re up against.
Learn to find God’s presence in the out of ordinary things. He has a habit of showing up when you least expect it and in forms you might not imagine.
Prayer: Father, thank You for noticing our hurts and for coming to us in ways we never presumed.
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