A good friend of mine was telling me about a sad and difficult time that he and his family had experienced back during the summer. They have several dogs and one of them had been hit by a car. The dog lived but had two broken legs on the same side. The owner brought the dog back to the house, saw what had happened, and set out to doctor the beloved family pet. He described the medical procedure to me as he set about to set the bones and put splints on both legs of the dog. Then he gave the dog some of his wife’s antibiotics and some aspirin and petted him to sleep.
The next day the dog was not up running around, but he was awake and alert. Days passed and slowly but gradually in a few weeks, the dog was walking around. The proud owner said he was a little slanted, but he was walking okay. He went on to tell me that if you would put him on the side of a hill, he would level out. It sounds like a crazy story, but it really happened. Now after some more weeks have passed, the dog is still slanted, but he’s getting around real good.
The only reason that I share this tidbit of wisdom with you is because some folks that we meet in life are slanted, and some of those slanted people come to our churches. They too may have been hit by some of the high-speed traffic of this world, or they may have just run in some places where they shouldn’t, some places where they have been advised not to go, and there all of a sudden, wham, they got broken up. They needed care and, hopefully, received it from some well-meaning people who would be around them, loving them and caring for them. They need patching up and even though it may be with less than perfection from the medical community, they got the best that could be given. In time, they too healed and now they get to stirring around and they look just a little slanted.
One of the good things is that those of us who have been hurt and healed and walk a little slanted ourselves, we look at those folks and they kind of look normal. At least, they look about as normal as we do. They are grateful to be alive and walking, getting around, and so are we. In time, with encouragement and time for healing, they may find a place of service on a hillside where they even seem level and somewhat normal.
The old crippled dog is a beautiful study and can be seen as you follow Jesus as He selects His disciples. Twelve of them. All of them from different backgrounds. All of them with unique stories. All of them with a leg or two broken in life. A handful of fishermen, a tax collector, one or all of them with busted up and broken problems and none of them professional, religious people. I think you could say, without question, all of them a little slanted.
It is good to know that while we are all like that — banged, bruised, and busted sometimes — that Jesus comes. He comes to help and love, redeem and restore. He comes and picks us up, points us in the right direction, and nudges us to get on walking down the road even though we may be a little slanted. He can use us regardless of our deficiencies and our leanings that make others stop and stare at us. He created us and now can enter into recreating us and helping us to find just the right place where twisted and slanted as we may be, we fit and God can wonderfully use us.
To all the slanted dogs out there and slanted people who are seeking to follow Jesus, we raise our voices together to say, “Thank You, God, for touching us, healing us, and allowing us to walk this journey with You.”
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.