When my husband Rick makes a trip overseas, it affects many people. Routines change when someone is not at home for 2-3 weeks. Schedule changes need to be made in our local congregation. Adjustments are needed at home too. Rick’s travels even affect our dog Tyson’s routine.
Because Rick’s grandmother went to stay with a caregiver while Rick was gone (to give me a much-needed break), our dog, Tyson, suddenly became a “home alone” dog from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.. To make things easier for him, I took him on an early morning walk in our neighborhood each morning before leaving for work.
Tyson’s favorite thing to do is to walk and smell all the trails left by the other dogs in the neighborhood. I am always amazed at how much he enjoys that experience because I usually just want to walk quickly and get home where it is warm! One morning I was talking to God and observing Tyson at the same time. I realized that Tyson is in his own little world on these walks. He is following trails I cannot see or smell, and, from my perspective, don’t even exist. I cannot follow the trails that he does. And yet, those scent trails are real to Tyson and all the other dogs in the neighborhood.
I told God how amazing it is that he created the ability in Tyson to follow those trails. Watching him sniff and walk, you would be hard pressed to deny the existence of those scent trails even though you can’t see them. I realized I can’t see those trails myself because those scent trails are in a different world or “dimension” than I live in.
As I was sharing this thought with God, another idea popped into my head, “Just like I am with you too even though you cannot see me.” It was a timely thought because I had been struggling to trust God to take care of some things in my life. I wanted him to resolve some issues in ways I could see and understand.
Jesus was reminding me that his being with me is as real as the scent trail my dog was following was real. Just because we can’t see those trails doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just because we can’t see Jesus with us doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
Jesus is real; and his promises are sure. As I continued to walk, those promises came to mind. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20); “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5); and “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). This is reality.
Cheryl Shallenberger, 2012