One of our canine daughters, Cuddles to be exact, has a problem with her feet.
Apparently, at some time in her past, she was abused in and around her paws. When she first arrived at our home, we tried clipping her nails and could not get her to hold still. She violently pulled back — never snapped, but clearly was terrified.
So, we took her to the groomer’s and asked them to clip her nails. They returned the dog to us, with one or two nails a bit shorter, but clearly not clipped as we expected, and the groomers appeared to have fought in some battle, rather than attending to her paws! Again, she was clearly terrified.
Next stop on the journey for reducing nail length was the veterinarian. We told him that no one had been able to clip her nails and he gave us the “You poor guys, can’t even get the dog to hold still for a minute! We’ll take care of it!” look as he carried her into the treatment area.
About 8 minutes later, a very harried vet returned carrying Cuddles. Her nails are no shorter, and he is significantly humbled by the strength of our little MinPin. And, as per previous encounters, she is clearly terrified.
“We were not able to calm her sufficiently to do the job”, this being a complete understatement if I had ever heard one. He then said we had two options: 1) to bring her back on another day and have him clip and cauterise her nails under anesthesia (the expensive option) or 2) to have our limbs shredded when our skin came in contact with her paws (the cheap option).
We chose the costly option rather than experiencing Samurai sword claws when she jumps up onto our lap. She has been with us for 4 years and her fear remains as a visceral barrier to a normal pedicure.
So, is this post about our travails with Cuddles nails? Yes, but just a bit.
Like Cuddles, I am facing a fearful situation – another spinal surgery where 2 broken rods will be replaced and 2 more will be added in an attempt to stabilize my spine so as to alleviate additional curvature and pain.
I have had this type surgery twice and doing it again is fearful. But, I am sure I am not alone in this. Whether the injury is physical, psychological, mental or emotional, whether it is from the past or something you are facing in your immediate future, fear is visceral. .
Cuddles trusts us — she, in her own doggie way, knows we would not intentionally harm her. But her trust is not sufficient to overcome the fear that some other event had imprinted on her psyche.
Cuddles and I are different, however. I understand that perfect love casts out fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18
While my fear from past events knocked me down, it could not overpower my Lord and Savior. Fear of the upcoming surgery will not overwhelm me now. My Lord is sovereign and trustworthy, and I am in His hands.
“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
We are repeatedly admonished in Scripture to trust the Lord. For example, the Psalmist compares objects of trust in Psalm 20:7 where he affirms:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
And, the writer of Proverbs says:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
The God that is described in the Old Testament as being trustworthy is the same God we serve in the New Testament body of Christ. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 13:8 that:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
So, who do you trust when you come face to face with your fears? Do you trust in human wits, Oprah, psychology, or tabloid suggestions? Or do you trust the Creator of the Universe, the omniscient, omnipresent God who sent His Son to be our Savior?
May we say, along with the prophet Isaiah:
“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
Father, forgive me for the myriad of times when I let my fears and insecurities rise to the surface so that they distract me from living my life in victory in the power of your Son through your Holy Spirit. I praise You for being an everlasting rock upon whom we can trust. I praise You, also, that You have never forsaken me even when my fears turned my eyes away from your beloved Son. Thank You for your overwhelming love and protection, despite my fears.