How Old Is He?
Boxer mix dog, pit bull mix Annie, Loch Haven Dog Park, Hoover Alabama, Romans 14:1-13, dogdevotionals.com
It was 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday when I stopped at Loch Haven Dog Park in Hoover, Alabama so Annie could join the large group of dogs I affectionately refer to as the “fray.”  Upon entering the gate, she was greeted by Belle, a sleek black terrier mix on longish legs; Bee, a Rottie mixed with something smaller and longer-haired; George, a blond Goldendoodle, with endless energy and a desire to explore my hand with his mouth; Ace, a Bassett-Doxie mix; and a very large female Bulldog who did not need a name in order to gain your respect.
Annie and Belle paired up to run the obstacle course of other dogs and their owners.  I watched as dogs left and new ones arrived.  A Rhodesian Ridgeback with white on the tip of her tail arrived and joined Annie and Belle.
The variety of breeds present was matched by the range of the dogs’ ages.  It was obvious Ace was older as he had a prevalent spine and white whiskers had appeared where previously a solid coat of red prevailed.
A tiny black toy poodle entered wearing a turquoise blue sweater and Annie found her irresistible.  Unfortunately, the admiration was not mutual and the poodle snapped defensively at Annie who jumped back totally befuddled.  The poodle was so tiny I thought it was a young puppy, but it was actually an adult of eight years. 
As I turned my gaze to the newest addition to the fray, I saw Theo, a dark brindle boxer/pit mix with white socks adorning each very large paw.  He yawned to reveal sparkling puppy teeth in sharp contract to his boxy dark snout.  Theo was wider than Annie and almost as tall. 
Annie was literally “all over Theo” and he tumbled two times before stopping and regaining his footing.  Then, Annie scooped up his hind legs up over her back and began twirling him around.  He slid off and rolled to a stop.  Living up to a well-deserved reputation as “pesky,” Annie once again tackled Theo as soon as he stood up.  Having had enough, Theo growled and snapped as he chased Annie away.  It was hard to contain my laughter upon hearing Theo’s vicious vocalization because the sounds that exited his broad, well-built body could have been attributed to a four-pound Yorkie.  Theo’s high-pitched growl and bark testified to the fact that he was a mere four-month-old puppy.   I had misjudged Theo’s physical maturity.
I often refer to myself as a work in progress.  I have gone through periods of my life where I was not faithful to God; but how thankful I am, that He was and is always faithful to me. 
We are all on a spiritual journey, but we can’t outwardly look at each other and see the battles fought, the addictions defeated or the victories won.  That silver-haired woman with a red-headed five-year-old in her shopping cart may have just begun her spiritual journey yesterday by accepting the Lord.  Whereas, the heavily-tattooed young man with a shaved head may have been walking in victory for seven years after having fought a battle of not only addiction, but physical and emotional abuse.
I am very blessed to have mature Christians in my life who I can call upon for advice and know I won’t be judged as spiritually immature, but encouraged and lifted up in prayer.  I hope one day I can be a blessing to someone on their journey as well.
Romans 14:1-13
Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
Copyright January 21, 2016