So we no longer had Benson, we had only memories. Well, one evening, quite late as I recall, my daughter had been on the Internet, and unknown to me she and my wife had been laying plans for my birthday, in December. Knowing how low I was they were hatching a plot to take me to a local Animal Rescue Centre, in a nearby town, only to discover that it was closed on the day they wanted to go, my birthday. However, my daughter had persisted with her search and miraculously had discovered another Centre no more than 13 miles away, just over the border, in the neighbouring county of Nottinghamshire. It is not often that the local animal centres have Golden Retrievers which they are looking to re-home. However, this Centre had two, one was Ellie, an eight year old bitch, and her companion Charlie, allegedly 3 years old.
Cutting what could otherwise be a long story short, we quickly decided to arrange a visit to go and see Ellie – we had more or less decided to have a bitch this time, as our two previous Goldies, Sampson, and Benson, had both been dogs. When we arrived at the Centre, and enquired about Ellie, we were told that she was not now available for re-homing as she was quite poorly – we were later informed that she had an inoperable tumour under her eye. The lady at the Centre said to us, “but we do have Charlie, if you would like to look at him.” You might imagine what we said – so they brought Charlie out to meet us. He was taller and longer than Benson, he looked so thin, you could feel his ribs, his back was bent, it almost looked as if his spine was curved. He was however quite lively, glad to be outside in the fresh air I guess. If it had have been possible we would have taken him home with us then and there. At the time he also had kennel-cough, a quite debilitating condition. There were however formalities to consider, forms to complete, and so on, so having first seen him, and immediately fell in love with him in December, it wasn’t until the 10th of January, 2012 that we brought him home. It was truly amazing how quickly he bonded with us, and us with him.
What his former life was we can only speculate, but now he is so much healthier, he has filled out, perhaps too much in truth, now his back is quite straight, and you certainly cannot feel his ribs. He is so remarkably loving and gentle. Sure, he still has many lessons to learn, but then again don’t we all.
I could say a lot more about Charlie’s story, but I want to return to how finding him, and how having him with us has confirmed to me, yet again, about the loving faithfulness and compassionate mercy of our God.
Don’t let anyone tell you that God has no interest in the ordinary things of life. When we were so low and grieving over losing Benson – God knew! He understood how we were feeling.
The Lord — Who remembered us in our low estate, for His mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 136:23
Had the first Centre been open we may not have discovered the one in Nottinghamshire. However, in God’s own Divine Plan, by a remarkable providence we were made aware of Charlie.
And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16
Mostly Charlie does what he is told, but not always, and we too are often disobedient in not doing as God, our Father, bids us. But does God cast away those that He loves? No is the answer – He loves them, and His Love is so perfectly expressed in the sending of His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When people ask us where we got Charlie from, we explain that he is a ‘Rescue’ dog, and in thinking about this post it reminded me, how that, each of us, deep in our own sin, destined for a lost eternity in Hell, were ‘rescued’ by our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
When we signed the adoption papers to take on Charlie, it signified, amongst other things, a change in Charlie’s status. He became our dog, he belongs to us. We too, having repented of our sin, and owned Christ as our Lord and Saviour, belong to God. We have been adopted into His family and accorded the status of sons and daughters of God, we belong to Him!
And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18
We do rightly chastise Charlie from time-to-time, when he does something he ought not to have done. But, chastisement, rightly administered should always be intended for good. So it is with God, for does not the Bible say ……
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:11-12
These are but a few of the many lessons that having Charlie has taught me, above all I have learnt that our God is understanding, merciful, loving, compassionate and of course, faithful. For if it were not so He would not be God.
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9