Nine days. For nine days our pet German Shepherd/Retriever mix named Chloe was lost to us. I should’ve seen it coming, though. We moved from an area in West Palm Beach, Florida that provided more than enough property Chloe to sprint and play and dig (I hated that part). Our new home in Davie, Florida, however, is much more suburban, with a quarter of the lot-size. Needless to say, Chloe didn’t take well to the sights and sounds and smells of the new place — so much so, that she dug under the fence and scampered off.
That was Thursday, March 15. Like any good millennial, we immediately blasted Facebook and Instagram with posts about Chloe’s last-known whereabouts. It was cool to see the power of social do its thing with what felt like all of Broward County on the lookout for our lost pup. We sorted through a myriad of likes and shares and comments. We chased down a few leads. At one point, we thought Chloe had been hit and killed, with a tipster sending us a photo of a nearly identical looking dog that passed away close to Miami. We sped there looking for info but found out that the deceased canine wasn’t Chloe. We were in the dark still. No news. Nothing.
That was the worst part. Not knowing. Your mind can wander and race during times like that, imagining all sorts of sordid stories for what happened. We just needed to know. I was to the point where I almost didn’t care what the outcome was, I just needed closure. Was she dead? Was she stolen? Where was she? I had to know.
You see, Chloe’s been in mine and Natalie’s life ever since we got married. We got her 3 months after we got married, when she was 3 months old. She’s 6 now. Calmer. Sleepier. With a lot more grey on her muzzle. Her demeanor’s never wavered though. She’s the same spunky pup that won us over in the first place. I don’t really care what your feelings about animals are, Chloe’s a part of our family. We love her, and always will. And when she went missing, it honestly felt like someone had gut-punched us . . . and taken our dog, too.
But you know, God’s funny. He has a divine sense of humor. About the time I’m peering over the edge of hopelessness at the prospect of ever finding her again, I get a phone call. Chloe is found! The prodigal dog is safe! We sped to where she was being kept, thanked the lady who found her and took her in, and cried tears of joy. Our family was whole again. We had our Chloe back. Thank God! This was Saturday, March 24.
And that’s what is truly incredible about our God. He’s not just Lord over the big things, he’s Lord over the little things. Small or great, significant or inconsequential, he sees it all. He hears it all. He knows it all. He cares for it all. (Matt. 10:26–31) Nothing’s too trivial for him. Notwithstanding the consequence of your request, God wants to hear from you.
All he’s after is your reliance. As Natalie and I drove those hours, those days searching for her, shouting her name, I remember begging God, “Let me see her! Let me find her!” I did my best impression of the psalmist, entreating and imploring God, “How long, O Lord, how long are you going to keep us in the dark? How long are you going to leave this ellipses at the end of Chloe’s time with us? How long are you going to grieve your children with this situation?”
And that’s when it hit me: You can’t bother God with seemingly trite burdens. Because those are precisely the type of requests he wants. Because he’s not just the Lord God your Deliverer, he’s your Father. He’s Abba. (Rom. 8:15) And when he called for us to cast our cares on his shoulders, he meant all of them (1 Pet. 5:7) — not just the big the stuff. As Steve Brown has said, he’s the God of bald heads and dead sparrows and the eternal truths of the Christian faith. And whether it’s spilling a cup of milk or contracting cancer — whether it’s losing your keys or experiencing tragedy — whether it’s losing your dog or losing a loved one — God is there. With you. For you. In all the normal, daily cares and weights and trials you endure.
“If God is anything, he is a God who has a thing for the normal . . . He is a God who turns our every expectation inside out.” (Bird, 18)
The expectation is that this Jehovah’s too busy for us. Too big for us. He’s obviously got a lot going on, what with ruling and reigning over the universe and everything. My concerns, my cares probably won’t get noticed. There’s too many wars and tragedies that need fixing for my situation to be tended to. But the joke’s on us for ever thinking God didn’t care. Certainly, God’s hand is weaving the significant, but he smiles at the small. Like any Father, he delights in doting upon his children. He loves it when they come to him for help with their shoelaces.
Yet, he’s the true and better Father, whose patience is never aggravated. Even though you may doubt him, he still delights in you. He loves every part of you. Indeed, every part of your life is seen and know by God. He knows how many hairs you’ve lost yesterday, today, and how many you’ll lose tomorrow. (Matt. 10:29–31) This somewhat silly illustration about the Creator numbering the hairs of his creatures showcases just how minutely sovereign he is. The same God who’s “able to destroy both soul and body in he’ll” is the same God who’s watching over you! And where the world might say that finding Chloe was a result of fate or happenstance, I know that fate isn’t my ruler. My life is ruled and carried by a God who’s intimately aware and involved in all the petty anxieties and details of his children. He’s the sovereign ruler of the grains of sand that line our coasts as well as the galaxies we don’t even know exist. There’s nothing too big or too small for him.
- Chad Bird, Your God Is Too Glorious: Finding God in the Most Unexpected Places (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018).