by Andy Watson, Worship Pastor at Life Bible Fellowship Church

My wife Laura and I got married just over 13 years ago. During our engagement Laura let me know that there was no way under any circumstances that she would ever let me get a dog. I counted it a small cost to marrying the love of my life. Three months into our marriage I somehow managed to convince her otherwise, and she finally agreed to my request of us getting a yellow Labrador. The next day I found a dog that I wanted online and he was flown in from Ohio that very next weekend. 

Winston was an English Labrador with an amazing temperament. 

He’s been with us at each of the five homes we have lived in and watched as each of our three kids came along and even as we made the move from Texas to California. He has been a big part of our family and has been dearly loved. 

Yesterday, after a sudden turn for the worst, we had to make the tough decision to put our beloved Winston down. This was a very sad day in the Watson household. I, my wife, and our three kids sat around in our living room, stroking our faithful friend, as a vet inserted the needle and he breathed his last breath. Then we all began to cry and recount various stories from that past 13 years of how Winston had blessed us.

Today has been a day of processing these events for me. 

I have been asking the Lord to come into the sadness. The reality is that all dogs die and it’s just a part of being a pet owner. But this was not what I had planned. Winston was doing well and seemed to be healthy until this past weekend. 

I have walked through much tougher seasons than this and losing a dog pales in comparison to some of the hard things that we go through in this life, but it has still been a sad time for our family.

I think for many of us we go about our lives with a desire to plan them out and have full control. 

As I have been praying today, God has been graciously reminding me that we do not know what tomorrow may bring. 

James 4:14-15 says “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

It is easy to have a self-centered worldview that craves the short-term gains that this world has to offer. As Christians, we are called to set our minds on things above and seek the will of the Lord. I think Jesus describes it best when one of his disciples asks him how they ought to pray. Jesus’ response calls them to turn to the Father and ask for him to “give us today our daily bread.”

My question for you is this: “have you been turning to God as your all-sufficient life?”. When hard times come are you rooted in your life in Christ? Are you living for the here and now or for eternity? When we make plans they can often change in an instant, but when we trust God with our lives then we will be able to handle whatever life throws our way.

I am thankful that God is faithful and that I can trust him. I am also thankful that he gave me 13 years with Winston the adventure dog.