Spirituality & Faith – A companion you cannot live without
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A companion you cannot live without
Editor’s note: This column was originally published in our August 7, 2015, edition.
I will never forget Billy Joe. What a wonderful, sweet friend.
Some thought Billy Joe was Billy, but I told everyone it was a Billie. Then someone came along and said the name was Billy Joe. It stuck.
I’ll never forget her smile, the way she rolled over to let me rub her belly early Friday morning (around 3 a.m.) as she stayed on the porch of the boy’s dorm, keeping watch and guarding her new friends.
Billy Joe joined up with us as we were trying to find the Overlook in the dark (that is another story for a later time). As the truck and trailer passed through the gates, she walked up to the trailer and attached herself to the kids as if she had known them all her life. She was not terrifying or aggressive, but gentle as a lamb. Nor was she afraid of the kids as they sang, laughed and spent time with each other in the great outdoors.
Following along the narrow dirt road, with the trees towering above and the stars twinkling above, Billy Joe kept pace, quietly watching. At times it was if she was leading, at other times she was following. But never leaving, attending to the truck, trailer, and the precious cargo aboard as it meandered through the woods in search of a place to worship the God of Creation.
She stayed with the trailer while they waited for me. She made sure everyone got off the trailer at the Overlook, checked the perimeter, then walked among the students and adults as I shared about the beauty of God’s creation and how a God who created all that we saw that night loves us with a deep, abiding love.
Yep, I’ll never forget Billy Joe.
The one reason I will not forget her is because she showed me some things about God. He, too, will come out of nowhere, into our darkness and join up with us. He will walk before us, with us, behind us – He will hem us in and surround us with His all-consuming love.
David said it this way:
“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; it remains forever. Jerusalem—the mountains surround her. And the LORD surrounds His people, both now and forever.” (Psalm 125:1-2 HCSB)
God the Father, the creator of the universe wants to be the one who leads us along the dark path, shining light into our world. God the Son died for us so we might have life, abundant life, here and now. His Son died so we might know forgiveness for our sin and walk in holiness. The Spirit of God lives within us to direct us, guide us, convict us, and help us in knowing Christ and His purpose for our lives. Oh, what joy!
It was Jesus who said:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” (John 14:15-18 HCSB)
What a wonderful promise! The Spirit of God, living within the believer gives all that we need so we might “keep My commands.” The Spirit of God remains with us through the dark valleys and the highest mountain peaks. He never leaves us; never forsakes us. He is our constant companion. Oh what a wonderful thought! No, it is a wonderful, awesome truth!
Billy Joe showed me that Jesus will “not leave us or forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5) Jesus also will come to us, as He has known us, and abide with us when we trust Him, believe on Him, confess Him.
The challenge is to walk with Him, live with Him, live for Him. Be committed! Find purpose in living for Jesus! (Acts 2:41-47)
By the way, Billy Joe is a dog who loved us for a brief moment, protected us, and spent the time standing guard. Such a sweet gift from God.
Until next time…
Dr. Jeff Fuller is pastor of the Rockford Baptist Church in Rockford. You may reach him through the church office at 256-377-4900 or by email at email@example.com.