Last Thursday, just before I had to go somewhere, I saw this little dog making a shelter in the bushes before the rains resumed:
Just a month before, a strange dog was standing in my driveway early in the morning. In the country, it's not too uncommon to have "travelers" who roam from their homes but often wander right back. I said something to this dog, but it cowered away from me. It was just before our last big snow, and I saw the dog again when the snow was fierce. Again, the dog shied away. Two days later, I saw that same dog, heading for the woods.
It broke my heart. I should have pursued that dog and helped when I had the chance. My worry is it appeared on many doorsteps before giving up to try to make it on its own in the wild.
I prayed that I got another chance. I did, but with another dog.
This beagle stayed with me while I tried to find its home, made calls to area dog wardens and vet offices. The one lead I had wasn't successful. Finally, I gave the dog to someone who got her into a rescue.
How many times have I watched wounded, lost and hopeless pass through my life, without me speaking one word of hope to them?
Rescue organizations pull dogs from shelters to find them permanent homes. They drive strays across state lines to get them to places where they have a better chance to be adopted.
Missionaries give up their entire lives to go into hostile countries with crushing poverty to give fresh water and hope to lost people. Caring people in our own country sacrifice time and comfort to help people.
Yet there are those "stray" people with whom we cross paths with every day, often in our own yard. What am I doing for them? What are you doing? We don't have to look very far to see someone who needs to remember that Jesus loves them, right now.
Build each other up and do no tear them down. Give the thirsty fresh water. Be a voice of hope and not harm. Even if you don't feel like it. You may be the only encourages and life raft they meet for a long time.