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He was the first dog my wife and I had together. Murphy lived to be 14 years old. He made the move from Louisiana to Georgia in 1986, and then to Indiana in 1991. He was there to greet our two sons when we brought them home. He was truly part of the family.

Murphy was a peculiar dog. He would lay under my bird feeder and watch the birds and the squirrels eating, never bothering them. When I would throw a ball for him to fetch he would stare at me as if I had lost my mind. And when we would go on vacation he would refuse to eat.

No matter who we had come over and feed him he would ignore them. There were times when we would be gone seven to 10 days visiting family. He might eat one day’s worth of food. When I got home he would scarf down all that I would feed him, all the time glaring at me for having the nerve to abandon him.

I grew up with a dog. Lassie protected me from other dogs, snakes, and any other imagined predator. She died during my senior year in high school. Murphy was the first dog my wife ever had. He seemed to sense her hesitation at first and loved her unconditional.

Unconditional love. Dogs always seem to give that. Even dogs that are abused seem to have a special affection for their owners. Since Murphy we have had several dogs. Barney, Mollie, Bandit, Blaze, and now Belle. In every case they depend on us to feed and care for them, and they seem to trust us no matter what.

The analogy is not perfect, but consider this. God is the perfect master and friend to you and me. He never leaves us to go on vacation. He always loves. And He wants us to trust Him, just as my dogs have trusted me.

Do you find it hard to trust the Lord? There are times for all of us that this is true. It seems as if he is not listening to our prayers. He has not stepped in and taken away our pain. But keep trusting. He is there. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all."

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