What Were You Created For?

I heard an animal lover say one day that DOG was GOD spelled backward.

While I would never imply that the Creator of the universe and our four-footed furry friends are on equal terms, I understand the heart behind his statement. The man was saying that God endowed our beloved animals with many of His own characteristics: unconditional love, kindness, sensitivity, loyalty, compassion, intelligence, and playfulness, to name a few.

 One of my favorite bumper stickers testifies to a dog's unconditional love. It says "I Hope One Day to Be Half the Man My Dog Thinks I Am."

I was reminded recently of all the reasons I love my dog as I talked with a dear friend. Only ten days ago her beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback, Romeo, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer that usually spreads throughout a dog's body before it presents any external symptoms. Her first cause for concern was a tender, swollen lump on Romeo's leg.

Sent home with an initial diagnosis and instructions to keep him comfortable and pain-free, my friend and her family hoped to have several months with Romeo before the disease claimed his life. Last Wednesday, only ten days later, she and her family bid Romeo a sad farewell.

I had the privilege of knowing Romeo from the time he was a puppy. Reminiscing with my friend over those early days, she told me, "I knew Rhodesian Ridgebacks bond to a whole family, but more than anything, I wanted Romeo to be my dog." To help him bond to her, she would hold him on her lap while she worked at her desk. Needless to say, he was quite content to sit there, curled up into a ball, ready to receive a pat on the head or a kind word.

We chuckled over how effective her bonding strategy was. Before long Romeo was her constant companion as well as her defender and protector. If she sat at her desk, he settled at her feet. If she moved from one room to another, he moved with her. Sometimes he even anticipated her movements, and she would find him ahead of her, blocking her way. If she left the house, he waited for her and met her at the door when she returned. Romeo didn't like men, but Romeo loved his mommy.

We talked about Romeo's last few days. "He was in so much pain, despite double doses of medication," my friend told me. "Every step he took was an effort." Knowing they were going to have to put him down, she and her family spent his last day focused on him. True to form, "every time I moved," she said, "Romeo moved. Even though it was a struggle for him even to stand, if I moved, he moved. Every step was painful, but even more than he wanted to be pain free, he wanted to be with me. He loved me more than he loved himself."

We concluded that Romeo had fulfilled his purpose -- all the way to the end. He was created to be my friend's constant companion, and he fulfilled that destiny despite tremendous cost.

His loyalty and love made me think of my own destiny. You see, just like God created Romeo to bring joy and companionship to my friend and her family, God created me for a purpose too.

Ephesians 1:11-12 describes my destiny. "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."

My destiny is to live my life in such a way that I bring glory to God.

Matthew 5:16 tells me how.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Sometimes glorifying God comes at great personal cost. Like Romeo followed my friend everywhere even though it caused him great pain, I, too, must choose to follow Christ even when it's painful. Even when it costs something. Even when I don't know where the path leads. I must ask myself, do I love God more than I love myself?

My calling is to follow the One Who loves me best.

It is my destiny.

ROMEO -- December 5, 2003 - January 25, 2012 

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  1. Oh how precious!! I have never considered myself to be a dog person.... and definitely not a BIG dog person. But, we had a boxer, Gracie for over 8 years. She was the most precious, loving dog. I was not exactly happy that we had a BIG dog in the house. But she fit our family perfectly. She loved each of us and she watched over our children as if they were her own. She died Christmas day 2009 unexpectedly, and still to this day, I miss that sweet dog. She was more than a dog, she was a family member! So sorry for your loss! Hopped from Bless a Blogger!

  2. Love it! Great example of how we need to live our lives.

  3. Great analogy, Lori! Am I willing to follow, no matter the cost? Easy to say, harder to do. Thanks for sharing!