The next day, the same thing happened, at almost the same time as previously. I grew a bit concerned. But it didn’t stop there. The following day, I was trying to read and I heard the same dog howling in what sounded like unbearable pain. I could hear the sound of the whip coming down repeatedly on the helpless dog’s body. I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could hurt an animal and continue doing so, despite the animal’s pleas for mercy! I jumped out of bed and ran to my mum.
I was like, ‘Mummy, the neighbours are beating their dog. Can you hear it?’
She was like, ‘Mm hmm. You know what these people are like.’
I was like, ‘It’s been going on for a few days now, at exactly the same time each day. I want to go and have a word with them, because I can’t bear it.’
My mum looked at me and smiled. ‘Don’t bother. Who knows what they’ve used the dog to do?’
I was confused. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, it is possible they’re using the dog for some kind of ritual and someone’s given them the instruction to beat the dog at 7am every morning...’
Yeah, I know. Like you, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Could it be true? The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was a very plausible reason, considering the part of the world we live in. And as much as I wanted to march to the neighbour’s house and give them a piece of my mind, I knew I couldn’t because I didn’t feel it would be safe. The first thought that came to my mind was ‘Where is the RSPCA when you need them?’ The second thought was ‘Maybe God can help’. So I prayed. I prayed that God would touch the hearts of our neighbours, and perhaps even speak to them through the dog like Balaam’s donkey spoke to him. I prayed that if they wouldn’t listen, that God would take the dog’s life, so that it wouldn’t have to continue suffering. Amazing the prayers God answers sometimes. You know what, whether the dog spoke (and I really hope it did!) or the neighbours found their hearts, I don’t know. But I never heard that dog again.
As I was thinking about this more recently, I couldn’t help wondering how anyone could inflict pain on another living being, and close their ears to the obvious cries for mercy. I just couldn’t understand it. But then I thought about Easter. As Jesus hung on the cross, He cried. He wept. He was in so much pain. A pastor was explaining the process of crucifixion on TV the other day and I literally changed the channel because I couldn’t bear it. So Jesus was suffering and He actually cried out to His Father but God ‘turned a deaf ear.’ For my sake. For all our sakes. He let Jesus suffer and die, because He didn’t want us to suffer and die. Just as perhaps my neighbours in their ignorance thought that it was necessary for their dog to suffer for them to get a desired result, God in His infinite wisdom thought it necessary for Jesus to suffer on the cross for me (and you) to have a relationship with Him. Easter Sunday represents the day Jesus rose from the dead, and whilst we celebrate that, let’s not forget that He had to go through hell in order for us to live.
‘And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.’ 2 Corinthians 5:15 (TNIV)