Weekly Devotional

October 17, 2018

by Jim Bramlett


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Unconditional Love

Not long ago, we got temporary custody of our daughter’s dog, Scout. She is 75% King Charles and 25% poodle and 100% adorable. For those of you who don’t own or never owned a dog, you might not get this, but I understand why you might not endear yourself to a critter like a dog. They take some work. You must feed, water and occasionally bathe them. You must take them to the vet every now and again and have them groomed. Pets, especially dogs, are not inexpensive companions.

I wish I could talk to you about cats, or goldfish or birds, but I’m a dog person. But, back to the story. You see, my daughter acquired Scout 7 years ago as a pup. She loves dogs as much as I do. But, life happens. She had kids and some of you know, when a dog is the only child and then have human siblings arrive, things change. Scout is as gentle as they come and would never bite or snip at anyone but having a four year old in the house caused some uneasiness and my daughter thought that some temporary separation might be good for both parties.

I have loved Scout since I first met her. She is the most affectionate dog I have ever had the pleasure of living with. She actually will give me hugs. That’s right. She will put both front paws around my neck and then press her head against my face. I call them “huggers.” And naturally, I start laughing and it only gets her to push her head against mine even harder.

What I have noticed about dogs, and especially about Scout, is she has unconditional love for both me and Pam. We can be gone for 5 minutes and when we return to the house, it’s tail wagging, hugging time and she seems genuinely excited to see us. When we are gone for a couple days, and yes we hire a dog sitter, it’s ecstatic pandemonium for the first 10 minutes. They are back! I’m saved! I can read it in her body language.

Even when Scout acts up and jumps on the counter to grab some left out food, or has a biological accident in the house, she still acts like we are the best thing ever, even if we scold her. We have a bond and Scout follows me everywhere. In fact, as I write this, she is sleeping below my feet in my office.

Now, I’m not going to say I don’t have unconditional love with my spouse Pam. I do. But, there are millions of highs, and a few lows after 40 blissful years. We can get into arguments and each pout for a bit every now and again. We love each other like no others.

However, Scout can’t verbally communicate but in every action, we know she has unconditional love for us. She doesn’t say she loves us more than anything, but I know she does. It reminds me of the unconditional love God has for us. We don’t hear God’s voice but in our everyday lives we see evidence that God loves us unconditionally. We act up, we treat others poorly and maybe have bad thoughts, but God loves us regardless. Maybe I shouldn’t take for granted the peace and grace that God gives me and every time I walk into Saint Andrew, should smile and dance just like Scout does for me.