As many of you know, Janet and I rescued a Red Doberman on December 29th of last year, following the death of our beloved Lexie last July. For the period from July through most of December, we didn’t have a pet; and it was clear that we missed having a dog around the house. We went through quite a process with several of the rescue agencies in order to be able to adopt another pet. While I appreciated the rigorous process, it is clear to me that there are still many folks who don’t deserve to have the responsibility of taking care of another living animal. That’s how we eventually got in touch with Hank…
We were in touch with several of the rescue agencies and for one reason or another, many of the dogs that we were interested in just didn’t work out. Either they were in quarantine or had health issues that were being treated or some other barrier that made it difficult for us to consider them. One of our interests was to adopt a dog that was full grown and we didn’t believe that we were up to raising a puppy.
Finally, we were put in touch with a foster home that was taking care of Hank, a 90 pound 2-year old Doberman that was right in line with all the things we were looking for. We visited him, in a snowstorm, no less, and actually brought him home with us from central Illinois – having already been cleared to adopt him through background checks and previous experience with this breed.
Hank has become a real member of our family. He has a different personality from our last two dogs and in many ways, he is easier to get along with. He does, however, have more of an issue meeting new people and playing with other animals. We finally came to realize, through working with trainers far more knowledgable than we are, that Hank was probably confined, or isolated, in a crate for most of his early life and just didn’t have the social skills to be able to interact – or even play with – other dogs.
This led us to find a suitable professional who could help us give Hank the tools to live his best possible life. That includes the ability to socially interact with other dogs; and to be well behaved and accepting of people that we invite into our home. At times, it has been a frustrating process but one that is progressing positively. Let’s say that it is a work in progress. Toward that goal, one of the things that we have decided to do is to send Hank away once a month for a weekend of play and socialization with other dogs at a farm southeast of Indianapolis.
So tomorrow, Hank will go spend several days with some of the dogs that he has come to know during previous training and socialization training experiences. I must admit that in the beginning I found it difficult to believe that a dog never learned how to play. How hard can that be? But it became clear to us that Hank was so insecure about his lack of social skills that it was affecting his quality of life. If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t have believed it…
We also installed a fence in our backyard – it was completed yesterday. All in all that was a pretty large project and now Hank will be able to have the run of the yard and we won’t have to worry about his safety – or another dog entering our yard. Needless to say, all this has been quite an adjustment for us. Fences, extended training, a special diet for food allergies and massive amounts of time teaching Hank how to be a healthy, happy, dog…
Something else that I have found, almost as difficult to understand, is that there are many people who don’t know how to study the Bible. That’s right – many folks profess a belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior but they haven’t ever read the Scriptures or tried to unpack the word of God, given to us through the agency of the Holy Spirit and recorded by human authors throughout thousands of years. But that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just like Hank needing to learn how to play, all Christians at one point or another need to be taught how to study and understand the Word of God.
The beginning of the journey is to embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior and then, we are told, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the Bible. After this first step, it makes sense to get into a Bible study or take a course on how to study the books of the Bible. Because there is a process and a way to understanding what God was, and is, trying to convey to us through His holy book.
The verse for tonight assures us that God will help us understand. We are told in Jeremiah 33:1-3, “While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time: “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
My encouragement this evening is that no matter how mature you are in your faith, God wants each of us to go deeper and know Him more intimately. My prayer is that you will yearn for the Holy Spirit to lead you and teach you how to enjoy and understand the Bible at a deeper level. And then, when you can, become more intentional about attending a Bible study or take a class on how to delve into a deeper relationship with the Creator of the universe. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…
This is a touching story about Hank. I hope it works out really well. And your point of the Scriptures is well stated, because I have talked to many people over the years who say if they read them cannot understand them. But to you and I most of it is so clear it nearly leaps off the page. In my mind they are not sincerely trying, or are not asking for God to show them.