Adopted As An Abused Adult Dog, Gracie Finds Her Voice
It’s a terrible thing when fear makes you lose your voice. But it happened to Gracie.
Gracie was our beloved pet, an adult dog that we rescued. When we adopted her, she was in very poor health. She needed help. Her markings were pure Jack Russell Terrier, a lively breed and a lovely dog. We passed over frisky puppies to choose her, being drawn to … what? Something in her eyes?
She had lost half her body weight, down to 6 pounds. The fur on her legs was thin due to malnutrition. Her ears had big scars from dog fights. Her two front canine teeth were missing, likely broken off from gnawing her way out of captivity. The vet who examined her commented, “What are you doing, opening a hospice?”
She began to thrive. My wife held her in her lap like a baby, prayed over her, hand-fed her, and tenderly loved on her the first few weeks. She survived! Eight years later when Gracie died, Lana said, “Who rescued who?” Gracie had bonded with Lana, not me. Perhaps it was a man who mistreated her — we’ll never know. She liked me well enough but for my wife, she did an exuberant happy dance when Lana walked in.
The first year that Gracie lived in our home, she never barked… not once. If she needed to go outside, she would silently stand at our feet and stare up or go wait by the door; giving only nonverbal clues. But after a year passed… she barked!
Surprised, we celebrated that first bark with praise. No scolding, no angry words. Thus, Gracie got her voice back! When I laced up my shoes in the morning, she barked, anticipating a walk. To be let outside, she barked. To welcome Lana home, she barked. Her voice sounded good to our ears. We knew how long it took. We knew where she had come from even though we could only imagine what had caused her long silence.
Suffering, helplessness, and fear can make humans lose their voices, too. Mistreated children begin to shut down their joy, afraid to feel or speak. Even for adults, silent suffering in the face of injustice or cruelty is not noble, it’s pitiful.
Speak up. Express your hopes. Rebuke your fears. You have a voice and you have human rights. Make a difference by speaking up for yourself. Like Rosa Parks, you may be paving the way for others to experience the same deliverance.
The biblical character named Job, while suffering terrible trials, finally said, “I will not restrain my voice — I will lift up my voice and cry aloud!” God heard him, delivered him, and vindicated him. It’s good to know that when we’ve exhausted our human appeals, we can go over the head of whatever person or power is oppressing us. We can appeal to the Judge of all the earth, the Lord of glory, who is seated on his throne of mercy.
We have legal standing in heaven’s High Court thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ. We can boldly vent our honest frustration, our deepest needs, our desperate hopes, our heartfelt emotions ... and he will hear us!
Shake off whatever muzzles you. End your self-imposed silence. Call aloud on the Lord with your whole heart. Use your authentic voice. God will listen to you. He will hear and welcome the sound.