Last fall I was moved by a canine tale out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and wrote about it for our Compass magazine. Two rescued puppies, who had been scarred by life, found healing in friendship with one another. Tanner, a 2 year old golden retriever, was born blind, and running out of lifelines. More than once the veterinarian had recommended that Tanner be put down. He was having nightly uncontrollable seizures, made worse by the stress of his changing and challenged world.
Enter - BLAIR, a black lab with problems of her own. She had received a gunshot wound as a puppy, and lived on the street. Now she was shy to the point of cowering. When the blind seizure-stricken Tanner met the timid gunshot victim Blair, they did more than play - they bonded.
Blair came out her shell and seemed to have a purpose.
This photo shows Blair grabbing Tanner's leash, and leading him through the compound at Woodland Animal Hospital. A seeing eye dog for a blind dog! The two became inseparable and what's more Tanner's seizures were disappearing! Not long after the two were adopted into a loving family with a dog!
That's the healing power of Dog's best friend.
A caring friend...on your side... for good times and bad times is also God's design in the Body of Christ. We are to "love one another deeply, from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22) and "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). Ours is a hyper-connected world, but all the texting, tweeting and Face booking is failing to meet our relational needs. "Alone together" is the tragic reality for too many. According to one study, the lack of solid, meaningful relationships with face to face conversations and meaningful touch is costing us 3.7 years of life! Do you know the number one reason people like to go to church? According to a George Barna survey, it's the WORSHIP people love most--music, instruments voices raised in praise. God has another priority for our gathering. Look at Hebrews 10:25: "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near."
At a church we attended last Sunday the pastor said, "If you have a choice to come to Sunday service or Home group-- go to home group, where you are sure to be known, and can serve the Lord together and live life together. You will be more fruitful, more alive and more fulfilled." In Acts 2, count 4 TIMES the word TOGETHER! Look at Acts 2:46 - "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." That was a power tool for the Early Church.
Listen to the testimony Colleen sent by email:
"About a year ago, a few friends and I got together for coffee and prayer, and we had such an amazing time together. We all had the same struggle - feeling isolated, longing so much to be part of something where we could share our hearts, worship freely and pray together. After I got home that day, I asked God what I could do - what WE could do, and I immediately had this impression: Do what you know to do. We decided to get together at least once a month and have been doing so for about a year now. We have invited others to join us, and one of the gals was impressed to call our group "The Butterfly Club." Butterflies symbolize new life, and that's what we feel is happening in each one of our lives."
What could you do to bring community and accountability into your journey? Ask Him! My friend Joyce has started The Daniel Plan and is providing better food choices in her home, for her family. Her photo is framed with 1 Thessalonians 5:11: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
Keep strong and carry on with Daniel, at least one friend - and us!