Are you a dog or a cat lover? Maybe you love all animals; most of them anyway. I love animals. People who have been to my house and met my two dogs, six ducks, chickens, and three goats, know this about me.
My family especially loves German shepherd dogs. They are so easy to train and are loyal, protective and lovable.
Many years ago my husband and I went looking for the perfect family dog. Our kids were only 6 (twins) and 4, so we knew we wanted a puppy. We found a German shepherd we fell in love with.
We named our new dog, Agape. She was about twenty-three pounds when we brought her home but my kids wouldn’t go near her at first. You may know agape is a Greek word that means “unconditional love.” Little did we know how she would fulfill her name.
After two days, they lost their fear of her and did not let her out of their sight.
Nor did she let them out of hers. She loved her pack (children).
My son, Matthew has cerebral palsy. Once Agape got a little older, she recognized something different in Matthew. She became protective of him. Not in an aggressive sense, but she stayed with him everywhere he went. If he fell, she let him grab ahold of her to get back on his feet. If he was sitting down in the grass, Agape lay down next to him until he moved, then she moved with Matthew.
We have four and a half fenced-in acres of land with a long winding driveway. She followed my children all over it. One time, all three kids and Agape were at the end of our property down our driveway. I called to Agape to feed her. She looked at me but refused to come.
Agape was a well-trained dog. She knew to listen and obey. But she was not leaving her kids. Once I called the kids, she followed them to me.
Every day during the school year, she trailed the kids down the driveway where they waited for the bus. She stayed just inside our gate watching them get on the bus and continued to stay there until the bus was out of sight. Then, she made the trek back to the house.
Another time, all five of us were walking around our property. Agape always took the lead. As we walked, Agape saw a hole where a drain had been. After putting her nose in it, she looked up at Mike and me, then put her nose back in the hole and looked up again. She stood over that hole until we had all passed her and then took the lead again.
Agape’s attention to detail and sensitivity amazed me. I wondered how far she would go to protect my kids.
My husband returned from work one warm, sunny day. This time Agape was not next to the kids. As he pulled up the hill to our house, Agape ran from the garage out in front of his car. He almost hit her. Our children were on that hill but she didn’t know Mike had seen them. She put herself between his car and our children.
He was a little shaken, but it made us realize how special this dog was to our kids and us. She would have given her life for them.
We serve a God and Savior Jesus Christ who also loves us with agape love. He does not base His love on what we do or have done. If it was, it would not be unconditional. He does not just love those who love Him, but even those who do not. That’s unconditional love. You can do nothing to earn it.
He is also a friend who will never leave us nor forsake us. He goes with us throughout our life even in the mundane comings and goings.
Agape spent her thirteen and a half years outside within our fenced in property protecting us and our animals from predators. It didn’t make her less loved because she was outside. She was family. She was a protector.
But she loved it when we came out first thing in the morning. It was as if she waited all night for us.
While we sleep, Jesus is the ultimate protector. He guards our hearts and minds. He protects us physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Have you ever considered that Jesus cannot wait for you to wake in the morning? He looks forward to time alone with you.
Jesus gave His life for us. His agape love allowed Him to die a lonely and excruciatingly painful death for us. He did what He did to keep us from spiritual death and an eternity without us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
~John 3:16 ESV
I thank God for animals, pets, and dogs like Agape. But I can’t express how thankful I am that He loves me unconditionally. There is no condemnation. We cannot surprise or disappoint Him. He is all-knowing. He sees your past, present, and future and He still adores you.
Isn’t He worth knowing? Do you want a friend who is closer than a brother or a dog?
His name is Jesus.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~Proverbs 18:24 ESV
What pet do you have that you treat as family?
Heavenly Father, thank You for family, including my four-footed fur babies.
Copyright ©️2019: Agape…and God’s Love: Author Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Stephanie Pavlantos is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She is working on a Bible study entitled, Jewels of Hebrews. She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 26 years and have three college students, Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. She is a published writer for Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and Christian Broadcasting Network.