By Galen C. Dalrymple
I have written quite a bit about our boxer, Ramses the Great, Lord of the Nile. We have another dog, too, named Rainy. Rainy is a mixed breed dog, part yellow lab, part shepherd, and a few parts of other kinds of dogs, too. She isn't as large and rambunctious as Ramses, but she has a wonderfully gentle spirit.
My job takes me away on travel a fair bit. When I am gone, Rainy is my wife's constant companion. She has a great sensitivity to my wife's emotions. I was on one of my frequent business trips when one night my wife had a nightmare. She yelled out in her sleep. The next thing she knew, Rainy had jumped up on the bed with her, stood over her with her cold, black nose in my wife's face, as if to say, "Don't worry! I'm here! I'll take care of you!" Ramses was still probably sleeping. When he conks out for the night, he's a goner, but not Rainy. On other occasions when Laurie has been ill or discouraged or upset about something, Rainy seems to sense it and she attaches herself to my wife like a second skin.
Rainy demonstrates what might be called loyalty. Loyalty is rare these days. "Survivor" is evidence that there isn't much loyalty -- and our culture is fascinated by it. In fact, it seems that those who are the cleverest and sneakiest are especially idolized and looked up to. How sad!
Loyalty means that you'll be there through thick and thin, through good and bad, no matter what. Just as dogs seem to love their masters no matter what the master does, they are loyal to the very end. And let's face it, we all have times of desperation, times of illness (both of body and soul), and times when we just aren't loveable. And it is then that we most need a loyal friend.
Where can you find such a friend? Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God is that kind of a friend --
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Are you in need of a loyal friend today? If not, you'll need one soon. But equally important is the need to be a loyal friend -- to do your best to imitate the kind of Friend that God is. It's a big challenge -- and it's time to get started working on it.
Further installments in the "Lessons My Dog Taught Me" series appear each Monday at the Evangelical Portal.
Galen Dalrymple pastors Vineyard Hills Christian Church, a non-denominational Evangelical church in the wine country of California. His daily meditations, Daybreaks, are received by readers all over the country.