Over the last few weeks—and really all the time—I’ve been inviting our church to be aware of God’s presence in our lives. He’s there—scripture assures us of that—so we simply need eyes to see and ears to hear where God is and what He’s up to. I’ve been challenging us to recognize, remember, and share about those moments of divine encounter.
And this week…I most certainly have a story worth sharing.
On Saturday afternoon, my family loaded up the car and headed to the church for a few hours of final preparations for Sunday. And like we often do, we brought with us our dog, Annie. [#churchdog] When we arrived at the church and opened the car door, Annie ran over to the building. But somehow, in the process of carrying a load of things and getting all four humans inside the church, Annie must not have entered with us.
So then, an hour and a half later when we were preparing to leave, I asked everyone where Annie was…and no one knew…or had seen her in the church. She’d been left outside this whole time. At this point we’re freaking out and imagining the worst. We’re running all around the church, shouting Annie’s name as loudly as we can.
So, the girls and I jump in the car to check the neighborhood, while Mandy starts contacting the appropriate authorities.
It’s been almost 2 hours since we’ve seen her—the girls are crying hysterically, Mandy and I are freaking out, and we’re all struggling to imagine our lives without our beloved dog—but we decided to scour the neighborhood once again. So, we gathered our things from the church and Mandy jumped in the car, but just as we’re about to pull away from the curb, her cell phone rings.
It’s Animal Control…and they think they’ve found our dog!
But that’s where the story takes a strange twist, where I can’t help but see God’s fingerprints. It turns out that the person who called in the missing dog was a woman named Amy and their house is just a block from First Baptist. Well, I happen to know an Amy who lives a block from our church: it was the pastor of the Methodist Church! It just so happens that our dog was found and lovingly cared for by our friends and colleagues from across the alley.
So, our tears instantly turned to smiles, our sadness to joy, and we drove down the street to collect our neglected pup—who was very excited to see us. I don’t know if God caused our friends to find Annie, but I certainly know we gave thanks to God that evening around our dinner table. And I’m confident that God was rejoicing with us as we found our dear pet, because He’s the type of Father who rejoices over lost things being found.