Billy was a sad little boy. He was only eight years old but, a lot of bad things had already happened to him. His parents had given him away when he was only three. He was abused in foster care and was bullied and picked on in school. He was full of anger, fear, and confusion, but even with all that going on inside him, he was still able to show love.
He really loved animals. He especially loved those he had been able to keep as his own. Dogs, cats, rabbits, opossums and even some mice. He loved his pets so much that he didn’t think of them as possessions, but as friends. But it seemed like every pet Billy ever loved had died, or was somehow taken away from him.
One of his cats was killed by a car. Another cat just came up missing. One of his dogs died from a terrible disease. He had a little puppy named Sparky that he loved so, so much. But one morning, when he went out to play with his little friend, he found he had died, too. Billy’s heart was broken again. Then there was his dog Dee Cee. Billy loved him as much as he had loved Sparky. He was always waiting for Billy when he would get home from school in the afternoon. He would run to meet Billy and jump into his arms and lick his face. Then they would run and play until they were both exhausted. One day when he came home from school, Dee Cee wasn’t there to meet him. He searched for him for what seemed like forever. Then day turned to night, and days turned to weeks. He never saw his best friend again. His heart was broken once more.
He had been hurt so many times. Not only by losing his pets he had loved so much, but also by the people in his life. He decided that he had had enough. He didn’t want to be hurt again. He became cold and distant. For a while, he didn’t even want a pet, but he was so lonely. Eventually, he decided to give it another try. He had to choose this pet wisely, so he thought and thought about it for a long time. What kind of pet would be the best for him? He thought and thought some more.
Then he saw it. It had been there all the time, right in front of him. He had played with it before and he knew that it would be the perfect pet for him. It wasn’t like any of the pets he had before. It had a long neck and a long body. Its head was wide and it had a big mouth. It wasn’t at all pretty, but he had found the perfect pet. A pet shovel. Billy thought to himself, “the beauty of having a pet shovel is that you don’t have to worry about it dying and leaving you alone.” When you want to play, it will always be there and it won’t get tired and lay down, or run off and leave you when another shovel comes around. It will never get angry and yell at you, or abandon you, or abuse you in any way. No sir. This pet would never break his heart. How could it?
Billy loved his pet shovel and took good care of it and carried it everywhere he went. He washed it and cleaned it. He petted it and talked to it, and he even fed it. Now, what does a pet shovel eat? Dirt, of course. Billy spared no expense. He went straight to the flower garden. “Only the best dirt for you”, he told his new best friend. “Only the best.”
There are many people in this world like Billy. People who have had a bad life and feel they have nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to without finding more pain. But thankfully, when he was older, Billy met someone he could trust. Someone who would love him unconditionally and would always be there for him and would never let him down. No, I’m not talking about his pet shovel. I’m talking about Jesus.
Jesus is always there for us. No matter where we are, where we’ve been, nor what we’ve done, Jesus loves us and will never leave us. He loves us so much that he came down to earth from heaven and died to redeem us from the curse of sin. He bought us back with his blood. Not so he could own us, or boss us around, but so we could live forever with him as friends.
There will always be pain and disappointments in this life. People we know and love may say or do things that hurt us. Our pets and family members may die or leave us, but, no matter how bad things get in life, no matter how bad or worthless we may feel, Jesus is always there to help us make it through it. He promises us he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He wants to be your friend. All you have to do is accept his friend request. He’s waiting for you right now.
© 2005 Teddy Lynn – All Rights Reserved
My book The Journey To Heaven is available in paperback and digital format on Amazon.com.
This post was adapted from a short story by the same name, © 2005.