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Lesson in love from a black labrador

Max Tong labrador 400CFRuth Tong has fond memories of her labrador, and shares her reflections here, wondering what we can learn about God’s love from Max.

Our dog Max, is a surrogate child really, and often gets called names of affection like Maxi Moo Moo depending on how bereft of little children I feel (now being the mother of teenagers)! 

He was an abandoned dog so he’s extra grateful for how his life is now. Max has an enormous appetite, he doesn't eat till he's full - he'll eat till he's too tired to eat any more - actually that's a bit like my teenage son...
Anyway… Max's love for me is exuberant and unconditional. If I get up he follows, if I sit down he lies at my feet, if I tell him to do something he gets on and does it. Max trusts that he is safe in my care and allows me to inspect an injured paw even when it hurts. If he's sick Max knows I'll look after him because he belongs to me. When our Kids dress him up in their clothes or wrestle with him, Max knows he's part of our family and joins in this daftness with the gusto that is the family Tong!
I wonder can we learn something from Max about how we are with God?  Max listens when I speak to him. I wonder are we as obedient? I meet folks all the time who want all the privileges of family membership without any of the responsibility.
If I tell Max not to go near something it’s for a good reason. He might get hurt or put me or another family member in danger. You see, I love my dog. You are loved by your Heavenly Father who, in the same way, wants us to follow His methodology for life because He wants us to grow, have fullness and be spiritually safe.
When life hurts did you know that God will look after you? He is gentle and treats our pain with reverence and understanding. He’ll patiently bathe the hurt and bring healing and He’ll NEVER say ‘I told you so…’ He will never abandon you or forsake you (Deut 31:6). Even though your father and mother forsake you, Jesus never will (Psalm 27:10). He will always be up for a heavenly hug no matter how mucky you may feel you are.
Beloved, you never have to feel abandoned or alone - you are part of a huge wonderfully whacky family, the family of believers! Can I encourage you to be like Max - join in with gusto to all God has for you…
(In memory of Max, pictured above, who died in June 2015)

Ruth TongRuth Tong is the Coordinator of Women’s Ministries at Eternity Downham Market, and is the author of ‘Love Drops from Heaven’.  Ruth regularly blogs at ruthtong.com/blog

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