It seemed like an insignificant suggestion at the time. Now, a year later, there is no logical explanation for what prompted me to make a random stop at the pet store on our way to buy a Christmas tree. When I review the decision, it makes no sense. That’s exactly why it’s a miracle.
Of course, you know him as Toto, my beloved dog who ended up in my lap and then, surprisingly, in my life. Some might say that I fell in love with this tiny treasure because of his name. As a writer whose blog is called “Tales of Oz,” how could I possibly resist an adorable Toto? But when animals like Toto are rescued, not only are they given new lives but often new names. When we met, I had no idea that his original name was Toto — his collar read “Ebenezer.”
Ebenezer. It seemed like the wrong name from the start. Scrooge, the grumpy old man from “A Christmas Carol,” immediately came to mind. Until recently I had no idea that Ebenezer actually has a deeper meaning, one that is as significant to me as Toto.
The name appears in another rescue story. Things were not looking good for God’s people. They had strayed from their faith and were worshipping false gods. To make matters worse, their archenemy surrounded them waiting to attack. But the prophet Samuel would not be dismayed as he assembled the people, called them to repent, and prayed to God for help. It was a victory that the Israelites could not accomplish on their own. As the Philistines approached for battle, Samuel offered a sacrifice to the Lord for their deliverance. At the exact moment of their imminent defeat, God rescued His people and destroyed the enemy. After the unlikely victory, Samuel took a stone and set it up as a memorial. He called it Ebenezer which means, “The Lord has helped us.”
Help. That is what God did for me when he brought Toto into my life. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize I even needed help at the time. For the Israelites it was obvious as mass armies surrounded them. For me my enemies were less visible. But God knew. Toto has comforted me, inspired my writing, provided nonstop entertainment, connected me with strangers who have become friends, and has served as a daily tangible reminder of unconditional love. God knew exactly what I needed and then delivered it to me in the form of an adorable furry companion right in my lap. In many ways we rescued each other.
Miracles. They happen all the time. But don’t take my word for it. If doubt remains, a book will soon be published called, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More.” Contained in it will be many unexplainable encounters and miraculous stories like Toto’s -- actually, including Toto’s.
You see, on Nov. 26, I received an email that our story was selected to be included in this book. I thought it was strange that the email arrived on a Sunday. Later I smiled as I realized the significance of the timing — it was the anniversary of Toto’s adoption. A year ago on that day God brought Toto into my life. The. exact. day.
God helps us all the time -- sometimes it’s just so obvious that it cannot be denied. Every time I take sweet Ebenezer Toto into my arms I thank God for my little miracle.
Do you believe in miracles?
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” (1 Samuel 7:12-13)