It was the end of a long evening walk with my little dog Hannah. We were slowly heading up a steep hill – one that we often avoid – when my eye caught something different behind us. I paused for a moment to get a better view. Coming toward us was a teen boy and his dog – not really a strange sight in a quiet neighborhood except that the dog didn’t really walk, he hopped. Looking closer I realized that the sweet dog had only three legs. Trying to act casual I asked the boy about his dog. “We just rescued him from a shelter…” he happily responded. Before long, the boy and his precious dog had gone ahead, leaving me speechless at this chance encounter.
Have you ever met someone or had a random experience and wondered “what was that all about?” My mom would always tell me that nothing happens by chance, people come in and out of our lives for a reason – we must be open to the presence of God through every encounter.
One of my favorite lines in scripture comes from chapter 9 of Matthew’s Gospel “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” In this verse, Matthew refers to an encounter between a sickly woman and Jesus. By merely touching the cloak of Jesus, the woman is healed of her affliction. This woman amazes me – she seeks no help from anyone else. She merely squeezes through the huge crowd and connects directly with Jesus. Her faith is strong…and real, despite her ailments. I wonder how many of us can relate to this woman’s faith? When times are tough, do we believe that all will be well? Perhaps this scripture is a good reminder that God is always ready to have an encounter with us – all we have to do is reach out and ask for His help. I realize it may be hard to do this when times are challenging. But like the woman in Matthew’s Gospel, we are called to be women of courage and faith!
The encounter with the boy and the precious dog has stayed with me. I keep thinking about what it meant…what would my mom say about it? I think the boy is a great reminder that things do NOT need to be perfect in order to be precious, good and true. He shows us that there is a better way – God’s way. It took courage to adopt a dog with a disability and faith to know that it would all work out. It’s curious how a random encounter with a three-legged dog can lead to a deeper appreciation for what really matters in this life – faith, courage and strength of character. Perhaps I needed a little reminder about staying strong, even though my health is not perfect. Thinking back to the voice of my beloved mom “Don’t underestimate the chance encounters in your life. They are real and lead to meaningful connections which are meant to draw us closer to the God of love.”