Binding Wounds

It happened over a decade ago. Details have become blurred or missing over time, but I do remember the impossible position I was put in and the results.

He was only a puppy. So small, yet so full of life, even with his injury – a gaping gash on his throat that went all the way through the skin revealing his insides. Having called a vet and being told they could put him down for free, but would charge for anything else, and having no money, they turned to us for help. Actually, me. Could you stitch him up, was the plea.

I sew skirts, not puppies! No, I can't stitch up a puppy. They understood and started to leave. But I couldn't let them go. Wait – let's think this through again. We went over it and over it – none of us had money, the vet wouldn't work for free unless it was to put the animal down. But to stitch a puppy? No. I can't do it. They started to leave again. Wait! I still couldn't let them go. Silently I warred against my feelings. How could I say 'No?' Because I didn't want to hurt the creature – he was already hurt; because I was afraid it wouldn't help – he was already in a hopeless condition; because I just didn't want to stitch a puppy! His doom was ensured.

Yes. Sterilize a needle. Numb the area as best as can be done. Red thread so I can see to remove it later.  Prayer for puppy and me. Someone, everyone, hold the puppy. One stitch. I want to be done! Lord, help, let this be done right! Too many stitches. Finally, done. The puppy was cradled in loving arms as they went home.

Days later we went to see how he was doing. It was a beautiful autumn day so we sat on the porch and chatted. It wasn't long before a passel of puppies came running around the side of the house – the injured one, more white than his brothers and sisters, was noticeable in the rear. The first ones to us ran crazily around our feet and the chair legs as puppies are wont to do. When the injured pup arrived he came straight to me. I was so surprised that he came to the one who had hurt him. I scooped him up, and struggling with the squirming mass of energy, I searched through the white fur on his neck for red stitches so they could be removed. Not a sign of the injury. Puzzled, I released my firm grip and petted him while we continued chatting. The other puppies ran off after a few frenzied minutes, but my new-found friend decided to nap in my lap.

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” (Job 5:17, 18) Just as I was not willing to wound the puppy to stitch him to health, our heavenly Father does not willingly allow pain to fall on the children of men.

God sees peril that we cannot see. Those things that fill our hearts with sadness may be permitted to come upon us because He sees that we need to make straight paths for our feet. “He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) He has not forsaken us. He works through natural causes to lead His people to remember that very thing: we are not forsaken. But, many times if we were permitted to follow our own ways we would be in great peril. Trials are permitted to come to us all to lead us to investigate our hearts. As we do this, we draw near to God, and God draws near to us. Our relationship to God should be like the trusting puppy.

I regret I never adopted that puppy.

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