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23rd April: Why, Master, Why?

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. Job 13:15 (AV)

He was a very small puppy when he came into my life. Soon he had wriggled his way into my heart. I attended to his needs, saw that he was fed, took him for runs. The bond between us grew. I became his god.

My presence, it seemed, was what mattered to him. When I left in the morning, the protest was loud and vigorous. My arrival home in the evening brought joy unbounded. He shadowed me everywhere in the house, content to lie on the floor all eyes for me when I worked at my desk, up to be with me when I moved, sleeping by my bed.

Then he got distemper -- my fault, as I should have had him immunised, and I offer no excuse for that. With the help of a good veterinary friend, I nursed him, getting out of bed by the clock during the night to be sure he received his medication. And he recovered, so it seemed.

When I moved from home to a student hostel, he had to come with me. But he was different. His personality was changing. From being a friendly little dog, he was becoming snappy and aggressive, though no towards me. I had to assume that the distemper had left permanent cerebral damage.

In the new environment it was virtually impossible to control him when I was away during the day. No one else seemed able to manage him. He ran wild. He bit the milkman. Something had to be done.

Again I went to my veterinary friend. We sadly agreed on the little dog's fate even while he was standing up pawing me affectionately. 'It will cause him no pain' I was assured, as I handed the lead to my friend. When he brought it back with the empty collar dangling at the end, I could say nothing. Nor could he, for he too loved little animals. I went away out of sight and wept for a little dog. Though he had trusted me, I had slain him.

If he had known what was happening and had been able to comprehend the point of it, would he have said like Job, 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust him'? Or would he have said, 'I gave you all my love, all my trust. Yet you did this to me. Why, master, why?' I loved him. I had done what I believed was best. But I would have found it hard to explain in terms that he could understand. Is that perhaps God's dilemma (Is 55:8-9)?

Since then, when things in life have puzzled me, I have been able to say, 'I don't understand, master, but I trust you'. Job had it right.

When things in life puzzle us, Lord,
help us to understand as much as we can.
And for what we cannot understand,
grant us the grace to trust you.

Further reading: Rom 8:28-39. Jb 40:1-9, 42:1-6.


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