Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Saying Good-Bye to a Remarkable Friend

     Yesterday was a hard day for me.  I had to take our 14 and 1/2 year old basset hound to the vet for the last time.  We knew the day would come when it was clear that we should take action to keep him from suffering.  However, such a decision is painful to say the least.
     Our basset hound Roscoe P. Coltrane came to our family as a gift to our youngest son Nathan at Christmas.  What an adorable long eared pup who tripped as he ran over those huge ears.  When our son moved away, we took over caring for Roscoe and so he became a fixture of our household and during the course of all these years, he taught us many lessons.
Roscoe P. Coltrane
     First, he taught us about unconditional love.  No matter what happened during the course of the day, Roscoe was always glad to see us, loved to be around us and never seemed to tire of following us around the house.  Isn't that what our Lord and Savior wants to see in our lives?  If only we could love unreservedly those who are hard to deal with just like Roscoe loved us.  Are we glad to greet people whether at work or in our own family at home?  We should be.  After all our Lord reminds us to "love our neighbor as ourselves".  He also said in John 13:35:  "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  In some cases, I believe Roscoe had me beat in this area.  He faithfully followed us around and gave us love even when we were grumpy.  Oh that we humans can learn this lesson that Christ might be glorified!
      Second, Roscoe taught me about perseverance.  How many animals could survive the extreme things he did?  He nearly died from bloat (a twisted stomach that cuts off circulation), a cancerous tumor in his spleen resulting in surgery to remove it and finally nearly drowning in our pool.  All were close calls, but Roscoe soldiered through each challenge to come back strong.  Those of us found in Christ are also called to persevere.  It is no surprise that life is hard on this fallen planet on which we live.  We face trials, sickness, loss and heartache, but when we are in Christ, we are more than conquerors.  Jesus spoke these words of encouragement (John 16:33):  "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  Like Roscoe, we can persevere through hardship and the difficulties we face each day not in our own power but with the help of the Holy Spirit.
     Finally, Roscoe knew how to relax, rest and sleep.  Nothing seemed to disturb him.  He was the consummate connoisseur of nap time.  In the same way, we can walk in perfect peace knowing that we are safe in the Father's hands.  Because He keeps us, we need not fear.  We can rest like Roscoe in sweet peace.
     I miss our basset hound so much as he brought us joy and laughter.   More than this, though, he reminded us of the important qualities of our faith like unconditional love, perseverance in the face of hard times and  how to have peace.  Each one of these qualities is a means of identifying those who love our Savior.   Let us practice these qualities and put them to good use for the glory of Christ!  If a dog can do it,  I KNOW that in Christ

we can too.  Selah!

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