When God Wagged His Tail


I had a dream last night which I will relate in the next post later today. But for you to understand the symbolism in last night’s dream, I must tell you a personal story. Rather, I will let my wife tell it as she did shortly after it happened. Here is the story of our personal angel in the form of a puppy named Shiloh. I have removed names to help protect us from doxxing.


The LORD revealed himself…in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.  I Samuel 3:21

It started with me wanting a German Shepherd puppy so badly I could hardly stand it.  Most of you who know me know that I am a total animal lover, but through training dozens of dogs, I’d come to love and appreciate the special relationship and companionship that the GSD offered, and this desire was intensified  since there are too many quiet lonely moments at our house now that [Our 20 year old son that we lost tragically in 2012] and our farm animals are gone.  With my husband out of work, getting a quality German Shepherd seemed like an impossibility, but a few weeks ago, a breeder friend offered me a puppy.   

Now, we haven’t even been able to pay all of my medical bills, having to let that go to pay for my ongoing treatment with my doctor in Australia. This being the case, I wasn’t sure it was wise to even add the monthly dog food bill.  So after prayer, I went to [my husband] and told him that he needed to weigh all the factors and get the mind of God on this, because I felt that I wanted it so badly that I wouldn’t use wisdom or accurately hear the voice of God.

We talked pros and cons.  On one hand it seemed providential.  On the other there were the bills.  There was also the factor that earlier in my health battle I’d gotten a puppy we’d fallen in love with, but had to let him go because I couldn’t handle the stress of his care and training, as well as his giant size.  Neither of us wanted another loss.  We feel totally maxed out on loss.  Every child I’ve conceived, I’ve lost.  The son we adopted, we lost.  Within a couple of years of losing [our son], [my husband] lost his father and brother.  We lost our previous German Shepherd, Walker, the last connecting link to [our son], because Walker had been his dog.  Then I lost my health, which was frightening for a long time, as no one could figure it out and I slowly starved to death, as many body systems started shutting down.  This led to the loss of another love of my life, my horses that I had raised and trained from foals.   Soon I was unable to even go out to the barn to throw hay at the goats.  They had to go.  Then we had to take a break from our drama ministry. 

Besides the loss factor, [my husband] was worried that even though I now feel able to deal with a puppy,  I would have a setback in my recovery from the stress and loss of sleep that come with a puppy. 

We prayed together, and then separately.  [My husband] went out to the woodshed for wood and prayer, and came in and asked me if I’d heard from God.  I told him I’m not sure, but my instinct said that I want this badly, so I’m probably not supposed to have it.  Now,  I have developed the mindset/fear that if I love it, God is going to take it to make me stronger.  If I want it, I’m not supposed to have it.

[My husband] kind of chuckled at me, and said he didn’t think that was God, but my own fear.  He said that as he prayed, God showed him that all of his reservations in the matter were fear-based.  God began reminding him of all the promises He’d given us in the last year or so – promises for provision, for my healing, for restoration of what the enemy has stolen.  God told him to accept this puppy as a sign of faith.  Not just faith that the provision for the puppy would be there, but as sign that God was in the process of keeping ALL of His promises to us.

I began crying, remembering over the last year as God began my physical healing, He spoke to me of how I don’t accurately understand His heart toward me. He began showing me the depth of His love towards me, and how it is not His heart to take all that brings me joy.  He truly does intend good for me.  He wants there to be joy and happiness in my life.  In that moment I knew that this pup was God showing his heart to me.

We felt led to name him Shiloh.  A gift from God.  A place of rest from your enemies.  A sign of a new beginning and restoration.  He was a beautiful, playful, intelligent pup.  I had a few panic attacks with the increased stress, but rejected them as a plot of the enemy to undo the blessing God had given.  As I did, they went away. 

We’d just had him 4 days and were getting settled into a new routine when we came home from the charity thrift shop where we work to find him terribly sick.  He was vomiting every 5 minutes, and getting weak quickly. He was vaccinated, so we didn’t think it could be serious.   We tried some home remedies, and he seemed to get a little better, but then he began deteriorating rapidly. 

Now, we don’t have credit, and no savings account, but I did have a little money set aside for taxes.  With [my husband] out of work it’s been our reserve fund, but we decided we’d use some for Shiloh. We made an appointment with the vet for Saturday, but Friday night he didn’t look like he’d make it until then, so we took him to the doggie ER in Fairbanks.

You have to understand that we have never been the people to spend  big money on animal vet bills, especially if it threatens the security of the family.  We’ve always taken serious issues as a sign that their time was finished, and let them go.  Now here we are with fewer resources than ever, but a pup that means more than a pup.  If we had heard correctly, he’s a sign from God.  If we didn’t hear that correctly, maybe we didn’t hear the promises correctly. 

Satan began throwing all kinds of fears and doubts our way: 

“You didn’t really hear from God.” 

“You heard what you wanted to hear.” 

“You wish God wanted to bless you, but you know He always takes what you love.” 

“You think He promised to heal you, but now you’ve done this, and you’ll never make it through this stress.  You’ll lose all the ground you’ve gained.  It could kill you.” 

“You thought He said He’d provide for your financial needs, but now His ‘promise’ is costing what you can’t afford to spend!” 

And on and on it went. 

We asked God to show us if we were wrong…if we should let go of the puppy.  But we just felt led to go one step at a time.  At the ER they thought he just had an upset stomach and dehydration, so they  gave him some anti nausea meds and IV therapy.  But this didn’t help, and we ended up taking him to the vet in North Pole on Saturday. 

We counted up our remaining money.  Literally all we had left in the world without selling a vehicle or something.  We had $1075. On the way up, I said to my husband, “We need to decide how much we’re willing to spend”. We prayed, and felt that God said,  “You don’t need the money.  You need my promises.  Don’t let go”.  So we spent the trip thanking God for the promises that Shiloh represented, and thanking Him that He is a promise-keeping God. 

As soon as we walked into the vet’s,  they said that he needed testing for Parvo.  The home-given vaccines bought from pet stores frequently don’t work because of improper handling.  The test came back positive.  It was the dreaded puppy killer, Parvo.  Many dogs don’t recover from Parvo, and hardly any without intensive treatment in hospital.  German Shepherds are one of the breeds that get hit the hardest.

I asked for the cost.  The vet said, “Well, he’ll probably need 5-7 days of treatment, but here’s a breakdown for 3 days”.  It was $1075.  She left the room, and we talked.  It was all we had, and it wouldn’t even be enough!  It was pure foolishness from the perspective of human wisdom.  A waste of resources needed elsewhere.  But we both felt clearly to take the next step and leave it in God’s hands. So we let them hospitalize Shiloh, but told them how much we had, and that past that we had no way to pay them.

The next two days were incredibly stressful.  Shiloh looked a little worse.  Our money was draining away. 

We were risking everything we had on what we felt God said to us.  Satan was bombarding us, but we could only say, “He is faithful.  No matter what the facts say, God is true, and His word will come to pass!”  I posted a prayer request online.  The details were hard to put in a quick post, and I didn’t want to mention Parvo publicly because I didn’t want my breeder friend hurt by being badmouthed.  She meant to bless me, and had no sick dogs and no way to know that this was an issue.

A friend reminded me to praise!  This led to God doing a quick survey with me of my handling of the situation, and I realized that I had alternated between begging/pleading and praising/believing.  Since faith is simply an accurate understanding of the faithfulness of God,  when we pray in His will there should be no begging/pleading, because that comes from uncertainty that He will do what He said He will do. 

Rather, once we hear from God on a matter, the believing heart can thank Him that the answer is already given in heaven, and is en route to us.  God showed me that this is what double minded means in James, where he says that the double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.  God gave me a mental picture of  an electrical short.  There’s enough spark there to know there’s power, but it’s not useable energy.  We are like that short circuit when we alternate between believing and begging.  “God, I know you can, you’ve done it before!  Please do it now!  You’ve got this, God, Thank-you!  Uh-oh, things don’t look good, maybe He won’t this time.”  …and so on.  The problem isn’t in God’s ability or desire, it’s in our connection.

God began giving us verse after verse that spoke about how He kept his word, like Isaiah 55:10-12:

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.

We began praying/praising the verses that God put on our hearts, even though the doctor’s report wasn’t good…even though our money would run out in the morning…because that’s who He is.

In the middle of this someone pulled in our driveway and gave us $500 dollars.  Someone else PayPalled [my husband] $150.  This generated much more thanksgiving! We were in awe of how quickly and beautifully God answered!

The next morning the vet called and said that Shiloh was barking and trying to get out of his cage!  She said, I know you’ve run out of money, but he really needs at least one more day.  He hasn’t eaten or drank anything yet, and that’s when he’s ready to go off the IV.  I was able to say, now I have the money. Keep him another day!

This generated a lot more crying and praising!

Even when the momentum turns against him, Satan just can’t stop casting his lies at us, to see if some will stick.  When I woke up early in the morning before the vet was due to report, he began his campaign. 

“You’re getting your hopes up for nothing.  If he doesn’t eat soon, he’ll die of starvation!” 

“He hasn’t eaten in a week, and you know he can’t last much longer.” 

“You went and spoke of this publicly, and now you’re going to look like a fool when you lose the puppy and all that money!” 

I rejected the lies, and went to the scriptures, where one of the first verses I read was that God is good, and does good.  I immersed myself in studying Psalm 119 and praising God for fulfilling His word until the vet called, saying that Shiloh had eaten, and could go home!

The last few days we’ve been nursing him back to health, and considering what God has taught us.  To me it feels like a radical new step, but we feel that God is calling us to apply what we’ve learned to the rest of the issues of provision in our lives…my medical bills, [my husband’s] work/ministry situation.  It’s time to stop waiting until I see the answer to thank him for it – anyone can do that.  That’s not faith.  But thanking Him for it before you see it, filled with the knowledge that He is faithful and will keep his promises, that is new  for me.  He began that lesson with my physical healing, but it needs to take much deeper root in my life until it becomes a habit.  An automatic way of responding as opposed to fear, worry, and trying to take control and manufacture a solution of my own.

I find now that I’m not so worried about money.  I’ve always been a Pennsylvania Dutch penny pincher.  Today it is easier to rest in the knowledge that He will provide, even if I don’t see how.  I was on the phone yesterday telling a friend Shiloh’s story when [my husband] came home from the post office.  He asked me how much we spent on Shiloh altogether, and I added it up to $1600 in vet bills.  He pulled out a deposit slip for $1000…a random gift that had shown up in the mail from somebody we haven’t seen or talked to in ten years, bringing the total that God providentially provided to $1650.  Exactly the amount to cover all of our vet bills and a tank of gas! 

God restored every penny that Satan said we’d wasted on believing God’s promises.  

So, the moral of the story?

  1. God is good.  All the time.  Period.
  2. He keeps His promises…and Satan is a liar!
  3. Praising God for the answer you don’t see exhibits the type of faith that results in an answer you can see.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1)”

“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.”  (Psalm 9:1-3)

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