A Contemporary Parable: A Dog Named Marley

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I sat in my comfy rocking chair, coffee on the side table, bible in hand. The Lord had been teaching me to sit quietly before Him. Listening. Waiting. Resting in the knowledge that I am His and He is mine.

My heart stirred. Lord, use me for Your glory. I want to teach others about Your love. I want to help them find You in their darkest moments. I want to serve You today.

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Service to the Lord comes in many forms.

My prayer was from a sincere place. Honestly, it was. But I have to confess that I saw myself on a stage, behind a mic teaching throngs of women at a conference. From that place of aspiration I pictured myself behind a table signing book after book at a prestigious bookstore. Yep. Pride can be a terrible thing.

Aspirations are good. Dreams often come from the throne of God. But His ways are not always what we think. His thoughts count for eternity much more than ours.

My vain thoughts were interrupted by a phone call. My neighbors had a doctor’s appointment off the mountain and would be gone most of the day. Could I watch their dog? Marley had many years on her and had not been feeling well. The neighbors would leave her outside while they were gone, but needed me to feed her. I was happy to help.

I checked on Marley about mid-day. The light in her eyes was dim, but she found the strength to wag her tail in a slow sway when she saw me. We cuddled for a few minutes. I kissed her nose, warm with fever, and assured her I’d be back later.

About dusk I made my trek over to feed Marley. Shortly before I left the house, my neighbors called letting me know they were stuck on Interstate 40 in a massive traffic jam due to an accident. They didn’t know how long they would be detained. When I got to Marley I noticed she was very still and quiet. I offered her food and water, but she didn’t take either. I found a piece of plywood leaning up against the neighbor’s barn and used it as a pallet so I could sit with Marley awhile. She was pitiful. I knew she was dying.

Darkness of night fell with a crisp chill. I pulled my jacket a bit tighter around my neck and snuggled a little closer to this sweet dog. There was no way I could leave her and let her die alone. I caressed her soft head and sang songs about Jesus to her. By now, her breathing was labored – very sporadic. I could sense fear in her.

Occasionally, Marley tried to stand, but there was not enough strength to do so. “Marley,” I said, “I speak peace to you in the Name of Jesus. Peace. He’s here with us and I will hold you until it’s time for you to go. Don’t be afraid. Your mom and dad will be home soon.” I could feel the tension of anxiety leave her body as I continue to soothe her with a gentle touch.

As I sat in the cold of dark all alone comforting a dying pup, I recognized the Lord’s quiet voice, Nan, when you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me. Today I have used you for My glory.

Tears flowed as I thought about the goodness of God. He was teaching me the true meaning of service – one I had not expected, but one I would never forget.

Micah 6:8
Why do we make it so complicated?

I caressed Marley and told her I loved her. I sang, “Peace, give I to thee. Not as the world gives, give I to thee … Peace give I to thee.” I heard the crunch of gravel and watched the trailing glow of headlights. My neighbors were home. They were stunned to see me sitting in the night shadows with Marley in my lap. I explained that I knew she was dying and couldn’t leave her to die alone. I knew the thought of Marley having no one with her would break their hearts as much as it would mine.

No one should ever die alone.

Marley took her last breath moments after her mom and dad returned. She was cradled in their arms and tasted their love one last time. I held my neighbors as we shared tears for their fur-baby. In silence I prayed that they, too, would taste the Lord’s love and know that He is good.

As I walked back to my home I talked with Jesus, Lord, thank You for using me today – for teaching me what serving You really looks like. Thank You for teaching me that what you require of Your children is to live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.



Nan Jones

Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire where she is a monthly contributor. She is also a monthly contributor to PW Connections, a blog and forum to encourage pastors' wives. Nan has had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This memoir was a 2016 Selah finalist. When Nan isn't writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com. Nan has also created a facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at nan@nanjones.com The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LPC Bookstore

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