Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)
TITLE: The Book of Fido
By Teri Wilson
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Back in my day, Ein Mallaha was known as the land of Uz. Uz had rolling hills, rich green pastures and fresh water from the Jordan River. Best of all, I lived on the largest farm in the land. My Master was very wealthy. He had seven thousand sheep and, as a sheepdog, it was my job to protect them. Born with the keen instincts of a guardian, I took my job very seriously. My Master never lost a single member of his flock until the day the great thief came and he lost everything.
A wolf, sick and desperate for food, had snuck onto the farm. I chased the wolf through the pasture, past the river basin and far into the desert before heading back home. As I neared the farm, a sickening smell stung my nostrils.
When I climbed over the last hill and looked down at my homestead, I blinked my eyes in disbelief. It was gone. Everything. All the land before me was black and scorched. In the middle of the ruins sat my Master. I barely recognized him at first. He wasn’t the same rich and powerful man as before. This man was bald and his robes were torn. Something about seeing him so broken made me curl up next to him and put my head in his lap. Then my Master did something I had never seen him do before. He wept. When he was finished he looked me in eye and said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
I fell asleep listening to my Master softly singing songs of praise to his God.
My muzzle began to twitch with a familiar pungent smell and I awoke to find my Master covered in sores. He was moaning in pain and trying to scratch himself with a shard of broken pottery from the rubble. I made up my mind that from then on, I would no longer be the guardian of sheep. I would become my Master’s protector. I licked his sores in an effort to comfort him.
Over the next weeks, people began visiting us. They all said many things, none of which seemed to comfort my Master. He became more and more upset and even longed for death. All the while I refused to leave his side. I began to growl at the other people to keep them away. Their words just brought more pain and confusion. My Master looked at me and said, “I <b>know</b> that my Redeemer lives, and in the end he will stand upon the earth. In my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes.”
I was pondering his words and trying to understand their meaning when a great storm arose. At first I thought the end was coming and my Master would finally die, but I realized the air wasn’t filled with the strange pungent odor. Instead it smelled sweet like milk and honey. My Master fell to the ground in worship and I knew it must be his God. The Lord and my Master had an actual conversation, just as two men would have. God said many beautiful things about the natural world and my brother and sister animals which he created. When it was over, I realized I, too, was one of God’s creatures. But, best of all, my Master was full of peace. He bowed his head and prayed.
After that day, my Master was once again the richest man in the land. This time I knew it was because God had blessed him with abundance. We had fourteen thousand sheep, but it was no longer my job to protect them. I stayed by my Master’s side until he died, old and full of years. Only then did I close my eyes and breathe my last. We were buried together on a hillside overlooking the farm. Job and his faithful friend.
<i>Job 30:1 “But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs.”</i>
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