October 11, 2007
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Mercer is a dog. To be more accurate, Mercer is a 5-year-old mixed-breed retriever who serves as the assistance dog to a 12-year-old girl from Centreville, Virginia, named Shea. Shea, diagnosed with a terminal illness, a rare form of muscular atrophy, depends on Mercer to help her through her day.
And what does Mercer do? When Shea goes shopping, Mercer carries her purse, and using mouth and paws can pass a credit card to the clerk. When Shea drops a pencil, Mercer can pick it up. When Shea watches a movie, Mercer watches the movie, too. Shea and Mercer even share their popcorn together; albeit they eat out of different bowls.
In short, Shea and Mercer are inseparable. Knowing the depth of their attachment, Shea’s mother wasn’t surprised to find six stories her daughter had written about her beloved dog. In one narrative, Mercer goes ice-skating, in another he sleds, and in yet another he tries his hand, that is, his paw at becoming an Olympic swimmer. In short, Mercer does the things that Shea will never be able to do for herself.
Moved by the stories, Shea’s mother has managed to have the books illustrated and printed. The first of the books will soon be available at FAO Schwarz, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Most of the money brought in by the series will go to Canine Companions for Independence. The organization that trained Mercer will use the money it receives to provide assistance dogs to disabled Iraq veterans. Every $45,000 dog that is trained will change a life.
Sadly, dogs like Mercer, as valuable as they are, can only do so much. They can minimize some of life’s difficulties, but they can’t eliminate them. If a person is going to have his pains and problems erased, he is going to need a Savior, not a canine helper.
And what can Jesus do? By His life, death, and victorious resurrection, Jesus has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Because of what Jesus has done, our lives are changed. That’s the Revelation assurance of the text that inspires today’s devotion. It says Jesus will “wipe away every tear from our eyes.” But Jesus has done more than that. As our Savior, the Christ guarantees that there will be “no mourning, nor crying.” In Jesus, the pain of the past is gone and death will be no more.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, I give thanks to You for pets like Mercer and those who train them. Most of all I give thanks for the Savior who has done for me what I could never do for myself. May I live this day in thanks for His great and gracious sacrifice. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries