“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
I sat outside of a Federal Prison yard and fought back deep, heavy tears of gratitude. A feeling that I was about to be overwhelmed by a sobbing that comes from a place of awe at God divinely knitting together such an unbelievably beautiful tapestry.
Here we sat, my Nicolas and I, waiting to meet his Service Dog candidates. "what's that?" He asked, pointing at a triple row of curled barbed wire high atop the fence. More tears to fight off.
Nick has recently encountered some new issues that we haven't been able to figure out. Meds have failed. Both neurologist and psychologist have provided possible diagnoses, but not solutions. Then one night in desperation we decided to see if our sweet old dog placed in Nick's bed would help. And it did. From the first night.
The next morning I began my search for a service dog! I found a few all over the country, each with a price tag over $10,000. Sadly even though I felt like a service dog was the answer we'd been looking for, it would require a miracle. I prayed for God to make a way.
Fast forward to today. Here we sit waiting to meet "Cash." He was at the humane society six weeks ago, on a list to be euthanized when a dog rescue organization picked him out and brought here. To prison.
"Cash" is being trained to be a service dog. By inmates. They are guided by Magic City K9, which simultaneously offers grace, second chances and valuable training to inmates AND dogs.
The words that kept playing in my mind as we drove home from our meet and greet were "he works all things together for good." Usually for me that Scripture is accompanied by a list of all of the challenges, struggles and roadblocks I've encountered. I see them being woven together in a mysterious tapestry which will ultimately reveal beauty. But today the "all things" is different—it's things out of my realm, things I'm completely unaware of and that have nothing to do with me or my world. All these things: the reason a young dog was left on the street and slated for elimination, the reason a man ended up in this particular prison, enrolled in a program where he is matched-up with a k-9 trainee. The reason that man would choose to devote hard work and faithfulness to training his ward for several months, to ultimately send the trainee away to live with an individual he doesn't know or have any connection to. These things blow me away. I am astounded at what God can use to answer a prayer. I'm always astounded and humbled when he chooses to use me. But honestly I'm even more humbled to consider that the circle of things he can use for my good extends so far beyond my comprehension.
Nicolas decided we should pray for "Cash." And I've added to our prayer list his trainer. I pray that God will honor our words and prayers for the unknown inmate: to bless him, keep him, be revealed to him, and save him. To somehow work together so many things for his good, that he will experience and know that God's Hand is on him and working through him. If even now while in prison, how much more does God have in store for him? I pray that he will, like us, be forever changed by this experience.