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Big Nose
Photo: Trisha Shears
Her nose and lips were swollen up like a balloon. She just lay there breathing heavily. My heart was pounding furiously as I settled her into the car and then raced to the closest hospital. What was wrong with Nala?

My parents had recently divorced, my best friend lived across the state, I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, and as silly as it may seem, this 90-pound hair-shedder, shoe-destroyer, brownie-eater (that’s another story) was probably my most faithful friend. Nala, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, is a large tawny colored dog with a mohawk of sorts down her back (her ridge). I’d had her since she was a puppy and she had proven to be the one earthly freind who always rejoiced to see me and spend time with me.

And now she was in pain. I drove a little faster.

The vet quickly examined her and pointed to two little holes on the top of her snout—"probably a rattlesnake bite," he explained. “She’s a large dog, it’s possible her body will be able to rid itself of the venom on its own. But if you want to be on the safe side, we can give her anti-venom and IV’s to help her survive this. But she’ll need to stay for several days and it’ll cost you quite a bit.”

We lived in Southern California at the time. Rattlesnakes were quite common and we’d had some in the back yard before. But obviously on this occasion, instead of heeding the rattle’s warning, Nala had stuck her nose in where it shouldn’t be. And now she looked like a cartoon version of herself. How would I help her? Should I sit by and hope for the best or should I do everything in my power to help her get better? There was no real choice – I handed over my credit card, and the doctor went to work.

As we grow up, we all find ourselves in situations where we hear the rattle or see flashing red lights or notice that still small voice that warns us we are in a dangerous place. What do we do? Do we leave it alone? Run the other way? Or do we get just a step closer, thinking it won’t hurt to just take a look?

Friend in Danger

You may have a friend who got themselves into some pretty big trouble. Instead of heeding the rattle’s warning, they’ve gone a step too close to danger. What do we do? Do we chastise them for being so stupid? Ignore them and end our friendship? Hope they will be able to get themselves out of trouble? 

Paul describes a similar situation in Romans. “We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Romans 5:7). Basically, this tells us that Jesus didn’t wait for us to be good, or smart, or make the best choices before he saved us.

Though I don’t think God expected those words to be applied to a dog, I think I followed Christ’s example by asking the doctor to save my dog. She had recieved what she deserved. But instead of leaving her to deal with it alone, I tried to help. And eight years later, there she ishappily snoring on the couch as I write.

Jesus didn’t leave us to be destroyed and ruined by our sins. He dove in and saved us from drowning in them. If we are able, we should do the same for our friends. Don’t let them drown in their problems, reach out a hand and try to bring them to Jesus and safety.

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ®.

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