By: Mike White
November 24, 2021
My dog's twelve best I can figure. His is old age is evidenced by the grey in his face and his longer than usual naps. He has slowed a step or two but still runs and plays hard. My dogs name is Rocky, he's a Catahoula. He is tall and lanky with dark mottled coloring that's often seen in his breed. His tail rides high and curled over his back and his ears stand on point, well almost, one ear tip bends over towards the front. I always figured it was folded over like that while he was still in his momma.
Supposedly some king in the middle ages gets credit for first saying "a dog is man's best friend", no matter who said it, it's true. Rocky is certainly is my bestfriend. He has been with me through a couple of heart attacks, open heart surgery, a divorce and the loss of a child. He never wavered, never judged and never left my side. In situations where no words could provide comfort or ease pain, he was there beside me, supporting and comforting me with his presence.
He makes me smile when I really don't care to, when he simply reaches out and gives me a quick lick on the chin or sits upright beside me and puts one paw on my chest as to say, "don't even think about getting up" while I pet him .
Old Rocks never been any trouble. He doesn't ask for much. A little love and a little food and he is happy. He doesn't care to eat much except meat and will sit close by stare off into space while you eat. He won't beg, but he makes dang sure he is there in case you feel charitable and want to share your meal, which I always do.
Rocky is a diligent guard dog. He stays on high alert and has protected me from many squirrels, joggers and Amazon delivery men who were out to kill me. He is quick to put himself between me and any threat and when he does, he looks like one of the mythic "Hounds of Hell" baring his teeth and throwing the hair up on his back. I have no doubt he would defend me with his life. As ferocious as he looks, the only person he has ever bitten was my ex-wife.
Rocky Dog is my partner. He sleeps curled up at my shoulder and takes every step I take. He gets shook up when I start getting dressed, knowing I will be out of his sight for an hour or two. When I am finally dressed he will walk backwards from my room and down the hallway staring me in the eyes, all the while wanting to know if he is going to get to go with me. That's what he lives for, a ride in the truck. When I say the word "ride" he starts to shake, jump into the air and head to the drawer where his leash stays.
I've never seen a dog that looks you right in the eye like Rock. It's constant. Rocky looks me in the eyes questioning me. Where you going dad? Can I come with you dad? You going to bathroom dad? Can I go to the bathroom with you dad? Wanna go outside dad? Is that chicken good dad? I like chicken too dad! His eye contact is not a glance, its long, deliberate and soulful. It's truly a look of love.
What got me to thinking about my buddy today is that he is up under my desk having a meltdown. He is shaking my desk so much it is hard to type. Now, Rock is not fearful of much with the exception unknown loud noises and buzzing locust. Things like thunder, a dropped pot or hammering and banging around the house tend to shake him up pretty good. When bad things happen, he makes a b-line for daddy and the protection I offer.
Today, I had a man working on a clogged drain line. He has been banging around the bathroom for some time now and all those strange noises have Rocky on his last nerve. I hate to see him upset and scared, but when he is and when he comes to me for protection and love, I enjoy being able to provide those things for him. It's a privilege and I owe it to him. He loves me unconditionally and in return, I love him back.
As I sat earlier with Rock under my desk and his head shaking in my lap, I thought about all the times I have run to God the same way, scared and unsure of the unknown and how He had held and comforted me until the trouble or storm passed. I thought about Rocks love for me and how he fully trusted me to protect him.
Now hold on Karen, don't go off the rails, I am not equating my love for a dog or his love for me with God's love, I am only using it as an example.
See, just like Rocky loves me...so does Jesus. I know this because, as the child song goes ,"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so". There are many verses that tell us of the love Jesus has for us all. One of my favorite verses about His love is 1 John 3:1 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him". The children of God...that is what we are! MAN! That's just cool!
I also know He loves me because He has shown me throughout my life in so many ways. He has kept me from harm when I was young, restless and ran the roads hard. He has blessed me with the love of my family and friends. He sent His son to die a torturous death for my sins when I deserved no mercy. This underserved love draws me closer to Him and gives me strength, strength to overcome my battles and fight life's temptations.
Isaiah 40:29-31 - "He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary".
What an awe inspiring verse! While I don't feel old, my youthful days of limitless energy and unbounded strength are behind me. I don't know about you but the thought of mounting up with wings like eagles and running and not getting tired just flat fires me up. As my dad use to say, "if that don't light your fire, your dang woods wet!".
Rocky likes to get a long side of me, stretch out and roll over on his back, offering his belly for some rubbing. They say that when a dog shows their belly it is a sign of trust, as the belly is the most vulnerable part of the dog.
We have to trust God and have faith in the words He whispers in our ears and the words He has given us in scripture.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him".
And, we have to submit to God. We don't get to go to Him on our terms. It says "...Whoever would draw near to God MUST BELIEVE that He exist and He will REWARD THOSE who seek him". Those are His terms...we must believe in Him and we must Seek Him.
So, what's our reward when we draw near God and Believe (trust) He exist? Well, nothing unless we continue to act on it by saying a simple prayer. It doesn't have to be fancy. The salvation prayer is not a ritual, based on specific words, it's about the power of truly committing your life to Christ as your Savior and Lord. In your prayer just;
Ø Acknowledge in your heart that and then confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Ø Confess that you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised three days later.
Ø Tell Jesus that you repent of your sins.
I hope, if you have not known God as your Savior before today, that you have said the short prayer above as I did a few years back. Trust me, it's the best thing this ol' Dog has ever done!