What We Need

by Crystal Johnson

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

Nearly nine months ago, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to have our beloved family pet, an adorable and near perfect (in my eyes) Cocker Spaniel to sleep. Alex was my puppy and my sidekick from day one. He grew up with my kids and he and Catelyn even potty-trained together! So after 12 years of memories and love, deciding it was time to say goodbye to him left all four us heartbroken.

It didn’t help that while we were preparing our goodbyes and doing our “lasts” with Alex, my Mom decided to add a new member to her household in the form of…you guessed it, a puppy. She was so excited about meeting her puppy, buying new toys for her puppy, showing me photo after photo of her new puppy. I wanted to be happy for her; she wanted this puppy this so badly. My Mom picked out an adorable German Shepherd puppy that brought her a flood of memories from a puppy she had during her childhood. However, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy for my Mom and, in fact, I begged her NOT to get this puppy (for many reasons, but I digress).

Fast forward six weeks. Mom had brought her puppy, Archie, home to her other two dogs and they were all trying to settle into a nice, happy little life. It was not working. My parents had two older dogs at home and having Archie in the house upset the apple cart. Big time. Things were not working out. So, given my thoughts on this new puppy, you can imagine my surprise when I heard my voice say, “Archie can come live with us if it doesn’t work at your house.” WHAT?? I don’t know if it was my “inner daughter” trying to save my Mom (she and Archie had gotten attacked twice by one of her older dogs in the six weeks Archie was there). I certainly had not bonded with this puppy, I didn’t even want to look at him, but here I was offering to take this puppy that I vowed NOT to even like, to come live with ME and my family.

On a Monday afternoon, I picked up Archie and all his worldly possessions at my Mom’s house. (There was quite a lot of stuff…did I mention how excited my Mom was to get this puppy?). On the way home, I was preparing Gage and Catelyn, who couldn’t remember Alex’s puppy days, for the transition. I explained that Archie might be scared, shy, or uncertain, and how he might miss my parents and so on. Our house was his third house in six weeks. But when we got to our house, Archie walked right in the front door like he had FINALLY made it HOME. Our house was HIS house and we were HIS family right from the beginning–there was no looking back for Archie! Archie was where he belonged…with us!

Anyone who knows me has certainly heard about Archie! The dog I wanted NOTHING to do with and tried to resent came into our home and our hearts. As much as I complain about this dog, as much as he makes me CRAZY for his puppy, high energy, super strong, and immensely intelligent antics, I love this dog. He is a reminder to me that God gives us what we need, even when we don’t know it. God hears us when we pray. He knows what we need. The Bible promises us that He will give us what we NEED, not necessarily what we want! I’m not exactly sure what God will teach me or my family through this Archie adventure, but I know that through all the dog hair and mud Archie tracks into the house, God is most definitely giving us something we need!

God, thank you for hearing us when we pray. More importantly, thank you for knowing what we NEED. Thank you for providing for our needs, even those needs we may not want, or the desires of our hearts, that we do not need. Lord, your ways and your will are far better than my own; help me always to be aware of this truth and praise you, even during the times I’m not getting what I want, but what I need.

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