Memory Banto Lady

The night after Lady’s passing; I was sitting on the computer, when this strong conviction took me over to write. At this very point I was not exactly sure were to start, but I guess I just had to start writing and pray it will lead somewhere and eventually makes sense to others.

Yesterday our truly faithful dog and loyal companion which loved us unconditionally passed away, which made me reflect on some principles which I have treasured for most of my life, because when I was young I had a German shepherd dog called Banto, which was more than just a dog to me. I know it sounds bizarre, but I have told several people throughout the years how from this dog I learned more than I have EVER learned from any human being. It made me wonder what is wrong with me to even voice something like this, but later when I got to learn about faith and God and spiritual principles – which to be honest were completely foreign to me – I noticed some principles which showed some similarities to what I experienced with my dog. God is not bound by any human dictates and can use anything to teach us. Knowing perhaps my non-mainstream or up-to-date, in line with acceptable lifestyle norms nature – being a kind of withdrawn extremist – the Lord had to find a way to teach someone like myself.

I got much in return from my dog in being his best friend. He was not easily bugged by anything I did to him, he was always hyped up whenever I was doing something with him, he always seemed so innocent, on the go and ready for anything. He never was trying to show off – as I was prone to – and always was himself. And when I might have been upset with him he never ever did give the impression that he was hold that thing against me for the rest of his life. It was like he had a short-term memory that holds nothing for longer than that very moment it happened. Revenge was a thing that did not exist in him. I could do anything to him and a second later he was my best friend again, never holding grudges. And when throwing a stick into water for him to catch, he thoughtlessly trusted me, leaping into the unknown without regards. He was simply just always happy to be around me and had complete trust. He was kind of an anti-downer, not allowing himself to be pulled down by any circumstances.

Have you ever watched some street dogs and how empty, fearful and hopeless they are? Or have you ever watched a video clip in which a dog is rescued out of a dying situation and nurtured back to life? Then in contrast, have you seen dogs which are ecstatic and full of life? Well, it’s the same with us, there are distressed and lonely people without hope and a future, and then there are transformed humans who are happy, vibrant and have a spark.

The Bible says that the greatest amongst you shall be a servant, and think of it, is that not what a loving and caring dog is?

This list of analogies goes on, but let me get to the point that I am trying to make.

In all of this I found the same principles in Lady decades later that I had found in Banto as well. It felt like there was a kind of shape-shifting going on, like a little Angel hidden in the dog, which relentlessly lived out the things God expects me to live every day.

When I started reading the Bible I came across 1 Corinthians 13 I was shocked. All the things which I saw in Banto and Lady were values and principles reflected there, a perfect life in love. What I want to say is that, without realizing it, I had little ambassadors from God for in my life teaching me God’s ways.

I would like to sincerely ask you, do you know any human being who lives such selfless, unselfish, godly principles? There are of course some completely transformed Christians which would fit these criteria, and I will get to it in a minute, but for the most part my guess is that perhaps you don’t know many.

Dogs are considered “man’s best friends” because they are loyal companions. They love unconditionally, always want our company, are always excited to see our face, will follow every word devotedly and lovingly, and never desert us. Show me which friends you have that would do it for you – and I almost forgot – even give their life for you unreservedly if necessary.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Who would have thought of that?

Now, comes the heavy metaphorical implications of life. When Banto died I and even my whole family was completely devastated, much more than if any family member would have died. I am not kidding. Why? Because of this incredible display on our consciences, realizing how much he had so silently given. We were so inescapably captivated, watching like in a seizure or wrong drug cocktail like Roophies, which leaves the person completely aware of everything, but wholly paralyzed and sedated, the veil being removed from our callous heart. This heart wrenching pain, when we clearly see the neglects, lost opportunities and irrevocably missed chances and shortcomings. The pain does seem to grip us and there is nothing that can be done to make things undone. We cannot bring these little representatives back to life. Neither on a greater stage at any point in life can we undo, rewind or whitewash anything anymore.

The examples of sadness in loosing Banto and Lady serve as a reminder and beg us to reconsider and reflect, to sincerely be sorry and ask God for forgiveness and ask him to help us to learn, to change our hearts, so we can become more the way we were intended to be. To be more like we have seen in the sample of his little messengers he sent, so he can start the process of spiritual healing. For a matter of fact, anyone grieving when losing a loved one has this reflection time to consider changing and start anew to apply those Godly principles.

God speaks to us through so many obvious ways, and the Bible even says: And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being, but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well pleasing, and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, placing your approval upon it. (Kenneth Wuest’s translation) —Romans 12:2

“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” —Romans 1:20

After all, these are some very fundamental truths, and what it shows me is how I myself can be so heartless to the cry of the needy, how I can be so occupied with the vanity of self. How I can be so blind to his obvious manifestations of these principles, how I can be so quick to justify everything away, how I can perhaps be entrenched in worldly endeavors, not seeing that at one point in life I will be sedated and see truth as is, and there is nothing I can do to stop this movie play in front of my eyes.

We are living in a time in which we are pursuing the wrong way in everything imaginable, yet again the only thing a dog wants is to be with you. He does not care for riches and what money can buy, he does not mind to lie next to you in a shack. He has implanted values which bypass all physical replications we learn treasure far too much.

I asked a little earlier in the text if you know someone in your secular surroundings who would willingly live such a selfless, unselfish life as these dogs described here have, and even without hesitation give their life for you. If a person completely manifested the same qualities these dogs manifest, they would have to be wholly altered by something that will make them abandon everything about themselves. In other words, God would have completely reversed and changed everything within them, so the only thing they manifest is godly living, and if a person is really living this transformed life style they would also like the dog not hesitate to give their life, the same way it was done by Christ himself.

I did meet people like this but do know there are very, very few. In my later teen years, being by this time taught by Banto for years on end to see godly principles displayed, the Lord upped the game and let me come in contact with a human exhibiting those trades.

I will in a second come back to my point of giving one example of a man I encountered, but I wanted to explain first that I am on a slow moving line, spending as much time as I can to study, read, meditate, pray and let him renew my being, so I can eventually manifest some of the same crafts and trades these dogs so effortless displayed. Slowly but surely, he is getting me to realize my utter spiritual survival is only in HIM. It’s not just a matter of knowledge I accumulate in knowing about HIM, but getting to know HIM personally. It’s easier said than done.

The Lord led me to realize on this journey that my fabricated repentance produced only a partial change of my behavior. He is slowly changing my heart, which over the years got so tangled with the doctrine of man and other secular considerations, that just now I feel the Lord is breaking one wall after the other to untangle all the past and let His light and truth let me see HIS truth more and more.

But to be brutally honest with myself all those studies so far altered only things, which I have been strongly convicted in. But, in my heart I do not really feel changed as anticipated. I seem to evade those serious, costly matters, but somehow the battle is still raging in getting me fully restored in HIM is a process of recovery.

In other words my regret is somewhere flawed because somehow I am ignorantly deceiving myself. I am changed in certain areas, but there are things which I feel have not arrived yet at all. I feel I am becoming intimately acquainted with him, instead of finding him tremblingly alive to sin everywhere, and quick to detect it in everything that is contrary to the spirit of the gospel. Again, is that not what the dogs taught me, displaying this unrestrained freedom born in undisputable trust, like having faith like a little child?

Since I stepped out, making myself vulnerable to truth, HE certainly has worked in many things, and I got reminded of when I worked with this man, when I was an apprentice in Germany. Finally coming back to this point, Ha!

When you saw him you loved him or you detested him. He did not have to talk to you for you to know he was a Christian, everything in him was not about him but Christ really living and radiating through him. I could see without understanding then that there was something completely rewired – fundamentally, unusually, contrary to whatever I have ever seen before. To this “true brother” what I would call him today, sin looked like a very different thing from what it does look to me today. I could see that this conviction and faith in Him, he was truly abandoning and rejecting everything that was contrary to His experience, in HIM. I knew he would not change back again, or go back to the former life of sin. It was so mind-boggling, logically unexplainable, especially during those times when I tried in my feeble attempts to debate with him. I never felt so uneasy and empty at the same time when confronted with this man. I never felt the conviction of God’s Spirit calling me and wooing me so strongly.

Just now decades later it starts making all sense. What comes to mind is the Parable of the Pearl:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. — Matthew 13:45-46,

What this dear man had found was the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven, he found the “deal of a lifetime.” When this convinced sinner saw Christ as the gracious Savior, all things else became worthless to his thoughts. Is that not what those dogs taught me as well? The great value of the Kingdom of Heaven?

I am taking this man as an example, as the glory of our Lord was so utterly manifested in him.

The lesson in being reminded of this dear brother in Christ, is that I can see today, that he had truly repented, and every time the truth bore upon him, it broke him down before God, he became more and more mellow, more and more easily affected, melted and broken down under God’s guidance. His heart in all of this became as teachable and submissive as a little child. This is how I remembered this dear soul now, and I can see the Lord’s goodness in allowing me to be reminded so vividly of this occasion of my past.

And I can certainly see parallels in the spontaneous implementations in the lives of my dogs.

I am afraid one day when we will be sat down and watch our life recorded by “Absolute Truth Channel” and our conscience will be put on full red alert making sure every detail is absorbed and that we will not be able to escape this heart piercing experience. God will not judge us, he will only show us truth and we will respond to this truth. The only problem is that God is convicting us to change all wrongs and repent and ask for forgiveness, throughout our whole experience “earth”. When we come to the end of our visit here, we will not be convicted anymore, but seeing truth, we condemn ourselves, because it is simply too late, this is why it is important to carefully consider.

I guess the ultimate lesson from this is that I must be willing to give up all trust in my own morality, respectability, and trust in nothing but Jesus Christ – continuously being open to acknowledge errors, to ask for forgiveness and to ask for help so the process of restoration can start.

If I could just see the reality of the struggle about my soul in the spiritual – and the overall struggle between life and death, the meta-physical and the spiritual – I would notice that I am in a battlefield, a battlefield outside the realm of natural understanding, nevertheless more real than the unrepentant heart can ever imagine.

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