Wedged down in an old sofa was an envelope with some very old photo negatives. My daughter thought one picture might be of her grandfather, long deceased. When I got the pictures developed, there was indeed a picture of her grandfather, as well as one of her grandmother. Both of them were holding a beautiful sheltie dog.
During a ride out to the country, my mom shared a story about that dog. It presented a side of my dad I was not aware of, which touched me deeply.
One day they saw a restaurant owner kicking a dog back in the corner of an alley. The dog was very tiny and completely without any hair on his shivering body. The owner went back inside, and Dad took off his suit jacket and gently picked up the dog, wrapping him in it with the tenderest of care. They took him to a veterinarian to be washed. The vet told them that the dog would not grow his hair back, and that his bowed hind legs were owing to a birth defect, correctable only by surgery. They took the dog home, and Dad cared for him, speaking to him of God's love for him. Every day they took "Wickie" on walks, and neighbors were very free with their comments, recommending that the dog be put away and suggesting that no one would want such a dog.
But some months later, after a lot of loving care, Wickie grew back his hair and turned into a beautiful dog. Many people commented on his beautiful ruff. His back legs straightened and he walked normally. For months he didn't bark, until one day Dad said barking was part of his normal identity. Several days later when my sister was playing with him he began to bark. He remained a little smaller than other shelties they had had, but he was good-natured and much cherished. They doted on him.
I was so grateful to hear about this side of my dad. It spoke to me of God, the God who is Love, the God my father and mother worshiped as central to their lives. In God's kingdom there are no worthless creations, no outcasts. This is why you and I, the children of God, are always found worthy in God's sight. He could not abandon a single one of us. He needs each to reflect His infinite wisdom. The words of Christ Jesus hint at the great value God has placed on the children of His creating: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31).
My dad was a rather formal man; he wore a suit jacket on most occasions, and it was quite touching for me to think of him removing a good jacket and wrapping it all around a dirty, injured animal. Dad obviously saw potential in Wickie and certainly couldn't bear to see him abused. In a more profound manner, God could never ordain impurity or disease in you or me. His love is unvarying and impartial, going out to all, wrapping each one of us in His great care. Physically, no one may be around to console us in our time of need, to wipe away our hurts and fears. But spiritually, God is always where we are, ready to uplift, to protect, and to guide into His outstretched arms of love.
I'm glad my parents didn't listen to their neighbors and abandon that little dog, who brought and received so much love. It's always that way when we care enough to love-that love is multiplied and returns to bless us. God, infinite Love, is expressed in our loving.
A growing understanding of God's love allowed Mary Baker Eddy to lean on Him in time of need; trust in God alone brought healing, which led her to discover Christian Science. Her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures shows how to rely on God's laws to guide us into better health and morals, and into an abundant sense of God's loving care for us. The book states, "In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as 'a very present help in trouble.' Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals" (pp. 12-13).
The Christ, God's great love made manifest to humanity, is always available to care for, guide, and purify those who seek something beyond the dregs of mortal living. God is loving you right now. He knows you. He values you.