Abby Blue Normal has been with us for four and a half months now. She has known no cruelty, no hunger, no pain since arriving here, although she has known many moments of terror, trapped in her understanding of life and blind to the reality of her new existence.
As I watch her I am reminded of how often we Christians are trapped and blind as we walk through this life. We are free in Christ, we are beloved, we are children of God because of the great act of love that Christ poured out on our behalf, and yet we do not always walk in this freedom. Instead we choose fear.
Abby is a good representation of a believer in Christ who has failed to appropriate the reality and truth of their new position before God. We have brought her into our home, she is now a member of our family, she has been given a new name and she is protected from sorrow, from hunger, from pain and from fear. In truth she has nothing to be afraid of. She has won the dog lottery and is now part of a peaceful and loving home. She is protected. She is loved. She is ours. Yet despite all of these truths, she is remains stuck in her fears and she is unable to take hold of the truth of all that is now hers in us.
I see some of myself in Abby. I long to trust Jesus fully and completely. To stand upon the sure Rock and know beyond all doubt that no matter what is going on around me, no matter how hopeless, no matter how my mind screams out "be afraid!" I am safe in Christ. There is nothing to fear. Yet so often I too give in to fear. I lose faith. My own walk has been a growth process, moving each day a little farther from the fear and a little closer to the trust. I hope and pray that this will be true for Abby too. That slowly her faith in us will grow and one day she will not fear the storms of life but will trust completely in us and our love and care for her. I pray also that my faith in Jesus my Lord will grow stronger and stronger each day until I no longer take notice of the high waves and the fierce winds.
I can see in her eyes that she longs to believe that everything around her is true and can be depended on, but the horrors she has seen, the life she has experienced up to now, scream out to her that everything she sees around her is a lie and that sorrow and pain is surely around the corner. Abby needs faith.
Looking back over the past four months I can see that she has progressed in her faith. She no longer shuts down totally, laying in a trembling heap with her eyes squeezed shut awaiting the worst and certain that it will be most terrible. Occasionally she comes to us and allows us to touch her. From time to time she will give a kiss. She still has miles and miles to go, to be free of her fears, we are still a long ways off from normal dog behavior whereby she comes and greets you upon your return, and whereby she lies in peace on the floor chewing a bone while the household relaxes.
She stays in her bed for the most part, only venturing out when called to go outside. She does not play much with toys and hardly ever if a human happens to be present. Sometimes at night she ventures out and lays in peace upon the carpet chewing a cow horn, but of how we long to see her be at peace enough to do this in our presence.
Her eyes watch all human movements, tracking you as you move around the house. I cannot recall one single time that this has not been the case. If you are standing, or moving, Abby is watching you, wound tight like a bow and ready to explode into flight should you turn into the monster that her mind seems to tell her you will at some point turn into.