I know this may sound like an unusual title for an article, but please bear with me and maybe you’ll see a connection.
Due to my occupation at the time and being single, I was unable to own a dog in my mid-30s through my late 40s. For some people this is no big deal, but if you’re alone and are a dog person, or an individual that loves animals; this is a big deal.
There’s just something about the unconditional love of an animal that I find remarkable. To be honest with you, I think people stink. Don’t get me wrong, even with this opinion it is marvelous to run into exceptions to this rule, which by God’s grace I do all the time. Yet humanity in its fallen state is evil due to self-centeredness and the corruption that it affects everything around it. It is so bad that the only way God could deal with it was to kill his own Son to take the place of us who deserve God’s wrath.
Having worked as an officer of the court in law enforcement, and as a minister and chaplain, I’ve often said that if people were more like dogs there might not be as great of a need for either occupation. Dogs are so loyal that even if their owners abuse them, the dog will remain devoted to that master. Show me an example of that in humanity.
I honestly believe that God has given us domesticated animals to teach us something about Himself and the following story hopefully will help explain this insight.
I had longed for a dog for a long time, until in my late 40s I married a fantastic woman who owned a dog. The dog was mean and hated me. She would bite at me and didn’t want anything to do with me. Although I won her over with kindness, she was always really my wife’s dog.
However, our next-door neighbor who also was our landlord owned a 120 pound German Shepherd who she sorely neglected. No one ever spent any time with him and all he did was sit on a concrete slab in the snow. Because of the neglect he received, this dog was vicious and mean, but I made up my mind that I would be friends with him. I fed him baloney and spent time talking to him. Eventually he came around. I had an opportunity to let him come and spend time with us in our yard so he would have some company, and eventually the landlord agreed to sell him to me.
Now this was MY dog. His name was Romo. He was probably 5 years old and he loved me, and most important to me he loved my wife and would protect her. I loved him deeply.
Seven years later he died very painfully of hip dysplasia. I took off work and stayed with him the day he died, speaking gentle words of love and caressing him. When he died I was in greater pain that I had ever been due to the loss of someone dear to me. My grieving was immense and very private. I told my wife I wanted another dog, but not until I was old enough that the dog would outlive me.
Years later my wife told me about a family that breeds pedigreed, long-haired sable German Shepherds. They had one left from a litter that just wouldn’t sell. He was obviously an outcast and didn’t look much like a German Shepherd, but he at least got to live with his parents until we came along.
One of my favorite teachings in the Bible is Luke 3 which gives us the date that Jesus began and finished his ministry, and uses the Roman Emperor as a dating point, so I named him Tiberius, and we call him Ty.
Ty is a real rascal, his AKC middle name is Rapscallion. He is cute, well balanced, loves everybody – especially squirrels, cats, birds and toys – and he will steal anything not nailed down and then joyfully run like the wind to carry away his new treasure.
His largest theft to date is that he has stolen the heart of an old man who has tried to forget the pain that love can bring when death calls.
At age 4, we found out that Ty has Pannis. It is a progressive autoimmune eye disease that leads to blindness and is incurable, although daily prescription eye drops can slow its progression. He is still joyful and silly and completely devoted to me, and I faithfully administer the drops.
My puppy is broke.
Now what is the point of this article?
I am God’s broken puppy.
There are those of us that are messed up sinners, who understand the depravity of their own human nature and our short fallings. We are broken and we know it.
And God always seems to love broken people.
At age 3 my mother was taken out of my life, and less than a decade later my father was, too. I was very fortunate to have been raised by a woman and her family who loved me, and who were believers – real Christians, for which I am now eternally grateful.
However, I also spent years going through abuse, and subsequently attempted to medicate my pain with drugs and alcohol as a teenager, which caused scars that still haunt me today.
I am a messed up person. I have no earthly idea of why God would give me insights into his Word, but He does even though I don’t deserve it. Yes, I used to study quite a bit and still do. But I’ve not earned the right to understand some of the scriptural insights the Holy Spirit given to me as a gift.
The Holy Spirit led me to teachers which were truly blessed to understand things beyond their grasp. I cannot explain why God would give me spiritual discernment to understand and perceive truth in contrast to the deception that’s going on in far too many churches and denominations these days.
I know it sounds boastful, and especially arrogant to those that oppose the things that I have taught, yet my gratitude for God’s leading and the guiding of the Holy Spirit is beyond my ability to express it.
I cannot give you a rational reason for why God would ever use me to share His Word with others. I have messed up so many things in my life and I have made so many bad choices, in spite of knowing that these were bad choices I was making at the time.
I truly do believe I’m one of the worst sinners that called by the name of Christ, a Christian.
Yet, it is perhaps my brokenness that caused God to love me and be willing to use me to show His power, because when I come up with this stuff, it’s truly Him and not me when you hear something that sounds insightful.
I can totally relate to the sinful woman that shocked bystanders by breaking a vial of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet, washed his feet with her tears and hair, and kissed His feet in gratitude. She was completely overwhelmed by His forgiveness of her many sins.
“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:47)
So now, in tears, I put drops in my puppy’s eyes every day, thanking God for this precious gift — this broken puppy – because it reflects His love for me as His broken child. This is why we all need an attitude of gratitude, humility and grace, because of God’s love for us as broken people; wherein we can trust Him in everything in our lives because He is worthy of faith.