My parents have a little long-haired dachshund-mix dog named Kikka.
She’s such a people-person (for a dog, haha!), and can’t stand it when they go away for a few days. Momma says that Kikka gets very excited when they pull into our driveway, however, even though she “cries” when they leave. She’ll jump into the chair by the window and whine as they drive away. It’s quite a pathetic scene.
There’s no explaining to a dog why their owners leave them, whether at home, a kennel, or even “Aunt Becky’s house”. For a time, I suppose they, like Kikka, feel alone, confused, frightened, and often resentful for the apparent abandonment by their owners.
Kikka, however, has found the secret to contentment during these times. I think that God is showing me a few things through this friendly and very-emotionally-attached doggie. Here are three secrets to contentment, from our furry teacher, Kikka:
 Stay close to the owner, giving and receiving all the love and comfort needed to get you through this.
Kikka follows me everywhere when she’s at my house- even into the bathroom, sitting on my feet if I allow her. She knows that she’s welcome, and boldly goes where ever I go. She knows that I love her, and she feels safe when she’s with me. That’s how our Heavenly Father is! He LOVES us, and we are certainly safe in His care. He promised that He’d never leave us (temporarily) or forsake us (permanently). He invites us to come before His Throne as often as we need.
Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
When we feel alone, it’s not God Who walked away. In the lyrics of the Gordon Jensen song, “He’s as close as the mention of His name… JESUS.” Open your Bible and let Him speak His love to you. When I don’t have my actual bible with me, I use www.biblegateway.com .
 Make friends and find something fun to do while you’re there.
From the first time Kikka came over, she made friends with our pets, including our newest kitten, Skippy. Our oldest cat, Whiskers, doesn’t like to “frolic and play” like Kikka does. Does she whine and get angry about Whiskers dismissing her friendly overtures? No. She’s found that our younger cats, Pandora and Skippy, DO like to play!
Pick your friends carefully, however. No one is perfect, but I’d rather find a friend by joining a nearby church or a mom’s group than by searching for one at the corner bar. Your friends help shape who you become, so think long-term before buddying up with someone.
Are you a lonely young mom, as I once was? After a year of not going to church, I finally got back in church in the new town we’d moved to (12 hours away from our family, thanks to the US Navy). The women there embraced me immediately, as well as my toddler and baby on the way. They asked me to make a list of everything I still needed (which was long), as I’d planned to purchase them after we got moved in. Those sweet women GAVE me everything on that list — FREE!!! I didn’t have to spend a dime! They demonstrated the genuine love of Christ to me, during a difficult time. Rides to church, help with housework, baby furniture, prayers for me and my husband, groceries, you name it. True friends make all the difference in the world! Be a friend, and find a friend.
 There is joy and fulfillment in helping someone else — who may be having a harder time than you.
Kikka is truly a compassionate and intelligent dog! Our old Cocker Spaniel, Buddy, is 90% deaf, and doesn’t walk very well any more. I’d gone to the back door to call both dogs back into the house, but Buddy couldn’t hear me. Kikka started to obediently come inside, but stopped and turned around to watch Buddy — who was walking the opposite direction. Kikka immediately ran behind Buddy and began nudging him towards the house, until he was safely inside. I was so impressed and proud of her! She continues to demonstrate a very protective and loving nature toward her elderly friend. She’s more than a playmate to the kitties …. she’s a caretaker for a disabled old dog.
She’s found a meaningful purpose at our house, and it helps keep her happy. In whatever difficult or unhappy situation we may find ourselves, we can reach outside of our own pain and disappointment to help someone else. Some may call it Karma or other terms, but the Bible stated this truth from the beginning: We reap what we sow. God said so, and He always keeps His Word.
Sow some kindness, and it will eventually come back to you.
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Joseph in the Bible understood these facts. He was betrayed by his siblings, sold into slavery, left for dead, separated from his family for 20 years, wrongly accused and imprisoned for many more years. Finally, he was released, and become the Prince and ruler over all of Egypt. Through all of it, he trusted in and remained faithful to God. Esther, the orphan girl who became Queen of Persia (although she had no desire to do such) trusted and obeyed God through it all, and God used her to deliver her entire nation of people from annihilation.
Paul of the New Testament, a former murderer of Christians, found himself in jail (again) for his faith in Christ, following his miraculous conversion. He and his friend Silas began singing praises to God, although they were chained and left rotting in a dark, damp cell. In the middle of their singing, God sent an earthquake that caused every jail cell door to open wide, AND all of their chains to fall off! When the jailer lit the oil lamp and saw what had happened, he drew his sword to commit suicide, knowing that he’d be killed if his prisoners escaped. Paul stopped him, and assured him that no one had run away.
Then the jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And that’s what the jailer did!
Paul, in the worst of circumstances, trusted in and gave praise to God. (He wasn’t complaining, as most of us would be.) Beyond that, he helped someone else during his own time of need. Perhaps at that moment, the purpose of his false imprisonment became clear — that the jailer and all of his family would find faith in Christ. I wonder just how many people were affected by this one incredible transaction? An earthquake, every jail cell opened, NO ONE running away, and the jailer’s whole family being changed?
Paul was inspired to write these words in the 4th chapter of Philippians:
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (From Philippians 4:11-13)
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1st Timothy 6:6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Prayer: Lord, help me to be content in whatever situation I find myself in. Help me to look to You, trusting in Your love, grace, and sovereignty, as my loving Heavenly Father, and the LORD of the Universe, and all that is or ever shall be!