“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” -Job 2:10c, NLT
When we got our black Labrador Adi, our family grew to include her family. Over these last five years we’ve watched as her mother Lady and older sister Diamond aged with grace. We’ve also watched her littermates Nova and Maxine grow up and make their unforgettable paw print on all they’ve met.
This year our Labrador family has experienced a marked change. We kicked off 2022 celebrating the addition of a rolly, polly yellow Lab puppy to Diamond’s family. The puppy, who is named Jade, just happens to be our yellow Lab Summer’s full sister. Just a few weeks ago we joined Nova’s family in welcoming Drake, a two-year-old Labrador rescue. Sadly, this year has also had its losses. Spring brought the heartbreaking loss of 5-year-old Maxine to a tick-borne illness. A month later the time had come to say goodbye to thirteen-year-old Lady.
With each addition, my heart celebrates. I relish the pictures and phone calls that update us on Jade’s accomplishments and highlight the mentor Diamond is to this young pup. I’m also enjoying my brother’s stories of their first excursions with Drake and hearing how Nova is helping him adjust to his new home. I can’t wait for Summer to meet Jade later this month and to see Drake frolicking through the fields come fall with Nova, Adi and Summer by his side. Just as my heart overflows with joy at these additions, it also struggles to accept the losses.
One morning as Adi, Summer, and I enjoyed our sunrise walk, I found myself reflecting on the two-way tug going on in my heart. On one side I am rejoicing and thanking God for bringing Jade to our friend’s family and Drake to my brother’s family. On the flip side, I still feel the heart wrenching pain that comes with the unexpected loss of a young, vibrant Labrador coupled with the sadness that our friend also had to say goodbye to his steady faithful, companion of many years. On this side, my heart cries out to the Lord the question, “Why so much loss in such a short period?”
As the joy and grief battled back and forth, a verse from Job came to mind. “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble.” It’s so easy to praise the Lord for the good and much harder to praise Him in the loss. Through Job, I was reminded that the Lord shares in my rejoicing and feels the depth of my grief. He is with me in the hellos and goodbyes, and it is from His constancy that my praises flow.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” -Job 1:21b
“God uses troubles to show us where true joys are to be found. ‘He gives the best and brings sweetness out of what is harsh, forbidding, and wholly unpromising.”Timothy Keller*
*Keller, Timothy. (2015). The Songs of Jesus. Viking.
© 2019-2022, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs used with owners’ permission