Winter had come to the mountains and for the past few weeks I had been noticing how the temperature was getting colder at nights. Now, for some reason my kerosene heater doesnít always work like it should after sitting around all summer and doing nothing, so there were several times that I tried to start the heater to see if I could warm up our home. But it looked like I was going to have to have someone come and fix the heater again like I had several times in the past. However, I didnít have enough money to pay to have that done. So, I just kept pushing the button from time to time to see if anything had changed, but the results were always the same. The heater would run a minute and then it would quit.
Then, one Friday, I heard that it was going to be real cold over the weekend, so once again, I pushed the button, right before I went to bed, but the heater did the same start and stop routine. So, my wife and I both slipped under the down comforter to keep warm. And we were okay.
But someone wasnít okay. Someone wasnít warm. We have two dogs that stay in our house at nights. One is a furry mongrel, named Shep. Heís always warm. The other dog, a pitbull/boxer mix, has very short hair and heís always cold. His name is Brutus.
About 3:00 a.m. Brutus was whining and whimpering near our bedroom door. He knows heís not supposed to come into the bedroom, so when he needs something, he just stands there and whines and whimpers.
So, I got up to see what he needed. As I walked out into the kitchen I noticed the temperature had already dropped considerably. Brrr... it was cold!
I quickly checked to see if there was food in the dogís dish. Yes, there was dog food in his dish. I checked to see if there was water in his bowl. Yes, there was water in his bowl. I checked to see if he wanted to go outside. But as I went to the door to open it and let him out, Brutus turned around and walked the other way.
So, I followed him to see where he was going. Brutus walked through the kitchen. So, I walked through the kitchen too. Brutus then walked into the living room. So, I walked into the living room too. I wondered where he was going. Perhaps he had found another mouse like he had a few days before, I thought. But that wasnít it. A short time later, Brutus stopped in front of the kerosene heater and stared at it. He then whined and whimpered as if to say, ďBoy, I wish that thing would work.Ē
You see, Brutusís dog bed sits right in front of that heater and heís used to that heater putting out some warmth when it starts getting cold. But there was nothing I could do about the heater. I knew that. Iíd already tried. But just then, as I looked down into those sad puppy eyes looking back up at me, I got to thinking that there was Someone who could start that heater again.
As I petted Brutus, I prayed, Lord we need some heat here. Iím okay under my down comforter, but Brutus is cold. Please Lord, provide us a miracle. Please help the heater to start.Ē
In spite of the foolish feelings overwhelming me and the accusing questions flooding my soul, I continued to reach for the start button on the heater. As I did so I prayed, ďLord, I believe you can do this. But I need your help. I need you to help my unbelief. Strengthen me Lord! Amen.Ē
Finally, like Michaelangeloís depiction of Adam reaching out and touching God, I made the connection with the start button on the kerosene heater. I then waited to see what happened. As usual, the heater started, but I wondered, would it only run a minute like it had been lately? But it didnít. It kept running and running and running.
And Brutus decided to take advantage of the situation, so he snuggled down into his doggy bed and went back to sleep, content that all his needs were met.
As I stood there dumbfounded, feeling the warmth radiate out towards the two of us, it suddenly dawned on me that God had indeed started the heater. And He hadnít just started the heater for Brutus. No, God didnít just fix the heater for our dog. He didnít just want to keep him warm. And God didnít fix the heater just so my wife and I would keep warm. No, that wasnít the lesson I needed to learn in this whole experience either. What God wanted to show me that night was that- He cares for me.
Sure, He cares for flowers, and birds, and even short-haired dogs that get us up in the middle of the night. But even more importantly, God wants each of us to know that He cares for us.
1254 West Cove Road
Canton, NC 28716
Approximately 875 words
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