by Emily Conrad
I am not the hero of this story.
That’s why I’ve hesitated to tell it to you; I don’t want a misunderstanding here.
I heard Liz Curtis Higgs speak recently at a writer’s conference, and one of her final instructions to us—the last quote I jotted down—was, “When you tell your story, you cannot be the hero.” I didn’t copy down more, but I listened closely as she told all sixish hundred of us that we could tell stories in which in some way we had stumbled upon doing the right thing for once, but that when we did tell those stories, we must make it clear that the only hero of the story is the One who prompted and enabled and worked through us: Jesus.
So, let me tell you a story about Jesus.
Jesus walks with me and my dog Sadie, and He was there both times when she was attacked by loose dogs. While I’m sure He had lots of reasons for allowing this, one thing He did was use these events to show me how to care for a dog following an attack.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Jesus and my short attention span were sitting at my computer, and He said, “Why don’t you hop over to Facebook? Just for a minute. I have a post for you.”
(Is a disclaimer is necessary? God is omnipresent, so He’s with me on walks and at my computer. But no, I didn’t hear an audible voice, so all the dialogue in this post is pure fiction. So is the elbowing that’s coming up. However, if God works all things for the good of His people, then I have to believe He was involved in all the details of this story, including my choice to click over to Facebook.)
Toward the top of my feed, I read a post from a woman who attends my church. Her dog had been attacked while they were out for a walk. Other commenters urged her to report the bite, but no one mentioned the importance of vet care when a bite breaks the skin.
Now, the woman and her husband are both in wheelchairs, so I knew that taking the dog to the emergency vet might fall to me. In fact, I realized the decision about whether to get the dog care might also end up in my hands. This seemed like a big responsibility. Was I qualified to handle it?
“Yes! I’ve trained you for this,” Jesus said. “Don’t waste it.”
So, I typed a comment.
From her reply, I learned that finances weren’t available to cover the vet bill. At the time of the initial attack, they hadn’t seen the wound. No information had been exchanged with the other owner, so they couldn’t ask them to cover the expense of the damage their dog had done.
Jesus grinned and elbowed me. “No problem. I already wrote a check to cover this. Remember?”
Earlier that week, my husband had done an emergency car repair for some of our relatives. Overflowing with gratitude (and generosity), they insisted on paying him far more than he told them to.
When we got that check, I specifically thought God was preparing us for an expense. I hoped the expense would turn out to be one of our ongoing house projects, but I couldn’t shake the idea that this money was for something else. Something unexpected.
The part of the check that was over and above the cost of car parts combined with money we’d planned to give to Jesus anyway would cover most, if not all, of the care the dog needed.
So, Jesus had given us our experiences with dog bites, our passion for helping animals, and this check for such a time as this, and He sent us into action.
We (Jesus, my husband, and I) were at the vet until after midnight, waiting for a treatment plan. Because it was so late when we handed the dog over to be picked up in the morning, Jesus instructed the veterinarian to cut the cost of the overnight stay so that the bill came in just $14 under the amount Jesus had provided.
If the story ended there, I would be satisfied. It is a story of Jesus’s provision, financially and otherwise.
But the story continues. Jesus arranged for the other owner to find my friend and to commit to paying the vet bill.
And so, I’m not the hero of the story. The hero of this story (and any other) is the God who provides for His followers. He uses our hard experiences to equip us to help others. He is more dependable than any check we can cash at the bank.
He has placed us here, with what He’s given us, for such a time as this.
He knows our needs, and no matter what happens with our finances, He has stamped on our deepest debts, the soul debts we could never ever repay, paid in full.