It must be ten years ago; I was rooting around in a junk shop in Broadstairs when I came across a wooden framed prayer that resonated with me. It was about someone who started out well in their journey of faith, but stuff happened and it all fell away.
I paid a couple of pounds and took it home. In one of our mostly feeble sporadic attempts to downsize I came across it a few days ago. It still resonates with me but would it for anyone else? Then yesterday, a small serendipity.
I don’t usually reply to Facebook messages from strangers, but this one arrived unannounced, all the way from from Nomi, somewhere in the world, she doesn’t say where. I checked out the writer. Her latest post was a robust declaration of her faith in Jesus. ‘I’m proud to say Jesus is my Lord, my saviour, my healer, my father, my teacher, my shepherd, my everything. Amen.’ Following a series of likes, there was a poignant note from a fellow in Texas, not 500 miles from The Alamo. ‘I was once at that very place. I guess maybe I lost my way.’ This took me straight back to my junk shop prayer.
I checked out the FB page from Texas to find a recent post: a photo of a fine small dog, with the caption, ‘I miss my best little friend. RIP Buddy’. This guy is in a very reflective frame of mind; he just lost his dog and now he’s reminded he’s lost his faith which once meant to much to him.
Dogs are tricky creatures. They give you their unconditional love, and are totally yours, (or Anita’s in Millie’s case). Then they wriggle and worm their way into your heart, until you totally love them unconditionally (even when they get you out of bed at 4.15am as Millie did today.) And you know full well that one day they will die and break your own heart.
So Cliff, I dedicate this prayer to you. You knew Buddy would break your heart one day and so he has. But don’t ever forget that the love he had for you is a pale reflection of the unconditional all encompassing love Jesus has for you. Oh, and Thankyou Nomi for taking me on this little serendipity with your own declaration of love.
Once we clung like children
When the waves lashed strong against the boat.
Once we drew so close to you
That we could feel your loving strength.
But now we lash out,
We try to fight the storm alone.
When did we lose sight of you?
When did we turn away, untrusting?
Now the harbour’s lost to us
And, out in the darkness,
Like frightened children we cry aloud.
Father draw close to us again,
Or rather, help us to draw close to you.
For you were always there.