By: David Stewart
Seven years ago, while working at the Salvation Army in Tampa, Florida… I met a dog. I had not really been looking to meet a dog that day, but two customers brought one to me. The dog had been left in the streets abandoned and was running in traffic, when two ladies found her and brought her in the store. They expressed a deep concern that something terrible would happen to the dog if it were left there, so they wanted us to call the animal shelter to help. I was recently married, and my wife and I had discussed one day getting a dog, but no real plans to do so. My manager at the time loved animals and hated to see one in a shelter so asked if anyone of us wanted to keep the dog. There was no collar or anything that showed it belonged to anyone and the fleas and dinginess of her showed no one seemed to care for her either. My manager also said, if we took the dog, we could get any necessities we needed like cage, collars, or bedding free of charge from the warehouse in the back. A quick call home and visit from the wife and just like that…. we had a dog.
A few days later we took the dog, (now known as Lexi) to the vet and determined she was 7 to 8 months old. She had no identification markings or chips, so after medications, shots, a bath or two, Lexi had completed her requirements to now become accounted for. The next few months consisted of chewed through barriers, whining sounds throughout the night if left alone, and lots and lots of attention from her to us. Her curiosity shown through best when she jumped in Florida swamps just to see what was in them. We had learned that the crumbling of a pop tart wrapper was the quickest way to lure her out as she thought a snack was sure to follow from the distinct sound. There has been lots of tricks performed by Lexi and tricks we have learned to keep her out of trouble over the years. These seven years with Lexi have included living in Florida, South Carolina and now Hawaii. If Lexi could talk, she would have so many stories to tell, I just want to share the one I like to tell the most.
Seven years ago, I saved a dog from continuing the hard life she was living. I now get to watch Lexi running through cracks in walls, jumping in mud, playing with lizards, and chasing pigeons. I get to see her enjoy sleeping anywhere, eating everything, and meeting every person or animal that crosses her path. Lexi enjoys life! I wonder what would have happen to Lexi if I had bought her a cage when I first got her, locked her up in the cage and never let her out. It would beg the question of, why even save her at all? Life for Lexi in a cage would keep her limited. Some could even say she would be safe, and you would not have to worry about her getting lost or hurt. Of course, she would still get to eat, drink and sleep so life would not be too terrible, or would it? All those things may be true, but there is one truth we have not talked about. Lexi would not get to become what Lexi was created to be. In this case she could never truly experience life intended for a dog, it would be restrictive and contained.
One thing Lexi and I have in common is that once we were both lost, trapped in filth, stuck with no direction, looking, and hoping for any answer to come save us. I might have saved my dog, but a man named Jesus saved me. It was only a year before I received Lexi, I received a “helper” to assist me called the Holy Ghost. The worlds best kept secret is the Holy Ghost! Some people will not talk about him, some do not understand him properly, but if you do not have a solid understanding, I want to challenge you to seek him out. Lexi received her help, hope, confidence, and ability to walk in freedom through me. I experienced all that through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says it like this:
He saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of its new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5 (Message version)
If we will not keep the Holy Spirit that we can have in a cage, the world becomes a different platform for you to operate in.
Here is my encouragement, you are not here just to eat, drink, and sleep. You are here to walk on the earth with God in you! That deserves to be said again, you are here to walk on the earth with God in you! This is something not everyone had the opportunity to do. You and a living God get to work together to help the lost, the burdened, and the poor. Life does not have to be the “hamster on a wheel” routine we can feel stuck in. You have a much bigger purpose in life and if you seek God, he will help you see that. Then he will empower you to run, play, and love even more than my dog Lexi. Be Blessed and keep your cage door open for all God wants to do.