By Carolyn Dale Newell

How sensitive is your best friend? Iva, my best friend and guide, is super sensitive. She comes running when she hears my sigh. when tears fall, she rushes to my side. She licks the tears away and returns a smile to my face. Her compassion runs as deep as her love for me.

I recently spoke at a women’s conference in a small church. Iva was a hit, as usual. Part of my message included my struggle learning braille. Iva whined deeply, as if she understood the frustration I described. God kept me quick on my feet, and I noted that the braille was worth whining over, as the congregation erupted in laughter. Iva’s timing was impeccable. People probably think I trained her to chime in at the right moment.

Iva draws attention like a magnet. She thinks she is on display for everyone to see, and I am talking simply because I always talk.

After the last speaker, we gathered at the altar praying for women. God was all over this meeting. The evidence was overwhelming. Iva laid perfectly still and calm in the midst of women laying hands on other women. Surprisingly, everyone praying aloud at the same time did not excite her.

Then a woman approached the front of the church. Her loud sobs stirred my heart, and Iva could no longer lay still. She moved toward the lady. Iva wanted to comfort her. Iva gave her a lick trying to calm her. I pulled Iva back. Not everyone appreciates Iva’s kisses.

Can a dog sense the presence of God? Some have suggested Iva can.

Honestly, I don’t know what to believe. My knowledge of Scripture tells me this is impossible, but I know what I have seen. Others have witnessed it too. God used a donkey to talk to Balaam. He made a rooster crow, pricking the heart of Peter when he denied the Lord three times. Jesus rode on the back of a colt where no man had ever sat.

Can an intelligent, compassionate guide dog feel the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit? Maybe I will have this answer one day. Maybe not, but I know one thing. God smiles on His children when they show concern.

Are we as compassionate and empathetic as we can be? Do we comfort the sister in tears? Do we offer a hug to the hurting brother or sister? Do we help them? Do we love them? Do we pray for them?

As time winds down, people become more divided. They call it a “dog eat dog world”. Could we all strive to be like a little black lab? Could we try to have her compassion?

Perhaps, our concentration should not be on what divides us, but on the needs of others. How can you demonstrate the hands and feet of Christ this week?

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.


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