A Longsuffering Labrador: A Lesson on Love

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

Our Labrador has interacted with people of all ages her entire life.  It’s her interaction with children that always gives me pause to watch, wonder, and learn. 

From the moment Adi arrived in our home as a wee puppy she was surrounded by children.  First by our own two girls, then their friends and cousins, and finally their soccer teammates and all the siblings that line the sidelines.  She quickly learned that children bring with them

Cuddles and kisses

Pets and praise

Sticky faces and fingers to lick

Running and racing

Fun and games

Adi has also experienced the accidental tromps of the paw, tugs of the ear, and mishandled leashes that come with their youthful eagerness.  Time and again she chooses to ignore these offenses, for she senses in the children who approach her the desire to love and receive love. She also overlooks these momentary discomforts because she seems to innately understand that there is more to their story.

Like the child who’s had little interaction with animals and proceeded to pet her by rubbing her fur the wrong way.

Or the under-the-weather preschooler who used her body as a pillowed place to rest.

Or the toddler who lost his balance and grabbed onto the scruff of her neck as a means of steadying his steps. 

Or the school aged boy whose limitations in life rob him of his ability to speak so he greeted her with loud squeals while firmly patting her head.

Adi’s gentle, longsuffering nature exemplifies the type of love I want coursing through my heart and mind as I interact with the people in my life.  The kind that focuses on the good in each person.  The kind that is described in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6:

"Love suffers long and is kind
 Love does not envy
 Love does not parade itself,
 Is not puffed up;
 Does not behave rudely
 Does not seek its own, 
 Is not provoked,
 Thinks no evil;
 Does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth."

Fun and games.

On my own, I cannot manifest this kind of love.  Rather it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that grows in me as I abide in Jesus (John 15; Galatians 5:22).  It is the kind of love that bubbles forth with the prayer, “Jesus help me love this person” when their words of misunderstanding tug my ears, their opinion rubs me the wrong way, their indifference tromps my toes . . .  

From watching Adi, I’ve also learned that love suffers long because it understands that it doesn’t know the whole story. My human perspective is two dimensional, but God’s perspective is three dimensional.  He knows the whole story from every angle and from every point in time.  Therefore, if the Lord places me in a person’s life and keeps me there then my love needs to

“Bear all things

Believe all things

Hope all things

Endure all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:7

In a culture that allows us to cancel relationships at a click of a button or swipe of a finger, the need for longsuffering love is greater than ever.

© 2019-2023, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

22 thoughts on “A Longsuffering Labrador: A Lesson on Love

    1. Thank you Rainer! Both in the Bible and in our own lives the Lord has given us such a powerful example of longsuffering love. How wonderful that in Him we can extend that same love into our relationships and remain steadfast in a culture that treats relationships as disposable.

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    1. Thank you Mr. Ohh! My children and I get many a chuckle when Adi nonchalantly does a drive by licking of my husband’s hand and he yells like Lucy in the Peanuts comic, “Ugh I’ve been licked by a dog.” I think in her own doggie way our Lab is laughing too. May many laughs come your way in the week to come.

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  1. As usual Beth your post is a lovely lesson of spiritual truth from Adi’s point of view – what a blessing to my day. I particularly loved : “My human perspective is two dimensional, but God’s perspective is three dimensional. He knows the whole story from every angle and from every point in time.”
    God bless you sister.

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  2. So beautiful on so many levels, Beth. You could write a heart-melting book about Adi and the little children.
    Reminded me of Matthew 18:3 “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like (Adi and) little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
    Yes, I hold fast to my belief all dogs go to heaven. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Beth, there are so many uplifting and helpful points in your post, I don’t know where to start. I kept stopping to write things down—three times!

    I suppose what I walk away with (until next time) is a prayer: Lord, may I (we) sense in the people you put in my (our) path the desire to love and receive love—YOUR love.

    “Love suffers long because it understands it doesn’t know the whole story.” Amen and Amen!

    This is more than a great post, Beth. It’s a GOD post. May God give you many more. Thank you! Blessings.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow David I am very humbled by your comment and greatly appreciate how you shared the pieces that spoke to you! This lesson was a labor of love as it came in fragments over several weeks. Every time I sat down to piece it together something more pressing arose with the kids forcing me to lay it aside. I almost gave up and filed it away but bad weather opened up an unexpected window of writing time so I gave it another shot and all the pieces fell into place. The Lord is good and gets full credit for each of these lessons as on my own I could never piece together the words to clearly articulate what He is teaching me.

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