Mushrooms and God’s Providence

May 31, 2018

Bowmanites, here’s my latest contribution to newsletter …

About a month ago, as I write this, the Lord brewed a fairly powerful storm in the eastern Pacific. An atmospheric river had taken dead aim at northern California. After a fairly xeric winter, the four inches we received were seen as a God-send and prolonged our spring. Where we live, not only did the grass receive a second wind, but I noticed some mushroom sprouting around the place. I was surprised to see them this late in the year, but didn’t give them a second thought.

This last Saturday, Hannah dropped by to talk AWANA stuff with Debbie. The final club meeting needed to be discussed so that the dear children might end the year with a bang. After the AWANA conversation, we walked Hannah out to her car that morning as she left to return to her home. Violet, our mutt dog, bored with our conversation sorted through dry leaves looking for whatever she could find. It seems that she found an old mushroom carcass. I think we yelled at her to drop it, and didn’t think much more about it. 

Violet has always had a voracious appetite. She was a foodie. Eating was most important. She was also my dog. We had a connection. More than this, she was always was exuberant when family and friends would drop by. I have one of those Radio Collars. You know, the kind where you dial in the circumference of a circle, and if the dog crosses the line, the dog gets a low voltage jolt sending the critter back to the house. This kept her in the yard. When we moved here from Willow Creek, I bought collar for our then dog, Baxter. I had nightmares of having to tell our children that their beloved dog got whacked on Bowman. With her collar, Violet never could get to the mailman. When we’d go on walks, I’d swap collars so she wouldn’t get the jolt. She loved that particular collar and going on walks. 

Today, I put her favorite collar on her. Not because we were going on a walk, but because yesterday after Debbie and I returned from an outing we found Violet listless. She had eaten her morning rations but wasn’t interested in the evening’s dole. This was unheard of with Vi. I called the vet at 7:30 this morning. The earliest appointment I could get was 2:10. At our appointment, the Vet looked her over and recommended that we do blood work. After more than an hour the Vet returned saying that Violet was very ill. Long story short, by the time the evening was done, we brought Violet home one last time, this time in a box. It seems that the mushroom Violet had sampled a few days before was deadly (there are three deadly mushrooms in northern California).

I know there are FAR, FAR worse things than losing a stinky mutt. But still, I really liked our mutt. I know that because God works everything according to the counsel of his will, Violet’s death wasn’t merely an accident. I need to do more thinking about the issue, but right now in this very raw moment, two thoughts console me. First, the storm that dumped all the rain and ultimately sprung a mushroom from the newly watered earth was from God’s hand. We can rest in the truth that EVERYTHING, is from his loving hand. The Lord gives and takes away.

Second, the Lord was gracious in Violet’s passing. She was on my lap as the Doc administered the toxic cocktail that caused life to drain out of her. As painful as it was, the promises of God sustained. Knowing the heart of my Heavenly Father, I knew my pain would ultimately work for my good. Ps 56:8-9 says, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle …This I know, that God is for me.” This is the best of all truth; God knows our pain, and he is for us. I’ve been reminded of the wonderful gifts that God gives us in this broken life, even if they are temporary (and they all are). For the believer, everything is about love. Love moves us to love him, and want to draw close. I don’t want anyone to be sad or feel sorry for me; everyone I know can tell the same story in one form or another. I want us to see that we have a loving heavenly Father who gives just what we need, good and bad, so that we’ll thrive spiritually. Again, it doesn’t get any better than this. It really doesn’t.

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