Hank, our Doberman, has been with us about nine months now. He had been surrendered by two other families before we adopted him last December 29th. He’s a big guy – about 92 pounds and I am sure that he was confused – having been passed around by so many owners and foster families before he came to us. The day we first saw him we drove through a snowstorm to central Illinois and brought him home, having already been approved to adopt him prior to our on-site visit.
Having Dobermans is not new to us – we have had them for more than 20 years now; and there is no doubt that they have a temperament all their own. Sadie, our first female, was a gift to us from the Humane Society for the work I did on their board here in Hamilton County. I actually saw her the first time when she easily fit in the outstretched palm of my hand. She was a great dog, but unfortunately passed away on her ninth birthday. It was a great loss to us…
Lexie, our next dog, was a wonderful Doberman we adopted after she was left on the side of a highway. She was much smaller – about 55# fully grown and she was with us about 11-1/2 years before she developed a mass in her lungs and passed away in July, 2017. Another time of grieving the loss of a wonderful member of the family.
It’s been difficult for us to lose our animals throughout the years, although we have had numerous dogs and cats who have made our lives richer. Unfortunately, sooner or later we have had to face the grim reality that they don’t live forever. However, with all the pets we have had, for some reason, we have developed a soft spot for Dobermans. And that’s how Hank came to us – an owner surrender that would up being the vehicle through which we were united with Hank.
At first, I thought I would be okay without another dog, but Janet had a real desire to try and fill the void left by Lexie. Not to replace her, mind you, but to find love, joy and companionship to say nothing of the security advantage of having a Doberman in the house. Eventually, I would have arrived at the same place but I really missed Lex and it took me longer to embrace the idea of adopting another pet. However, Hank seemed like the perfect fit almost six months after we lost Lexie. And for the most part, he’s been a typical Doberman – somewhat hard headed, smart, strong, loyal, loving and with a mind of his own. He’s never had an accident in the house and it didn’t take him long to adapt to our routines.
The longer he is here, the more comfortable he becomes and we are pleased that he is adjusting. To help him along, we have sent him to obedience training in the hope of making our lives, and his life, even more fulfilling. Lately, Hank seems to be making some significant strides in all areas of his life and the change is noticeable. I confess that I like Hank better when he is being more obedient and life is easier when I don’t worrying about whether he will come when he is called.
We have also installed a fence in the back yard to give him enough exercise, we go on long walks and he is starting to accept it when the doorbell rings or we have workmen in the house. On September 18th, we celebrated his third birthday – his first with us! I have to remember that he has had a very tough past – and we are committed to loving him well.
God wants the same commitment to obedience from us. Life is better for each of us when we are obedient to our Master, just as Hank’s life is better when he is obedient to our wishes. The Scripture is clear that Jesus is obedient to His Father and Jesus even takes joy in being obedient.
Our verse for this evening is from the apostle John. He quotes the words of Jesus who speaks to the issue of obedience and love. Jesus is quick to point out that our joy can be be complete in Him when we are obedient to his commands. In John 15:9-12, we are told, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
My encouragement this evening is that God loves it when we are obedient to Him and show our love for one another. Certainly, in stressful times such as these, that should be a welcome encouragement to us. My prayer is that we will all consider the upside of obedience to the Father and His Son. After all, Hank’s life is better with us and ours will be better with God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…