I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve seen the pets of my friends and relatives die at a greater frequency than ever before. It’s heart-wrenching to witness. Being without our faithful companions after years of personal attachment produces real grief, no matter how you cut it.
Goodbye, Old Friend
Some people don’t understand “pet-grief.” They say, “Yeah, but they’re not people, after all.” Well, that’s true, but death of any kind brings loss, which is what we experience when our furry friends die. Loss.
Goldie’s Last Day
I know this loss because recently it happened to me. After seventeen years as our family pet, my miniature Golden Retriever, Goldie has died. My kids have grown up with this dog. We’ve traveled together, taken tons of pictures of her, and in a very real sense, she’s been an integral part of our family. Throughout her life, she’s been the subject of many of my articles. Here are just a few of the titles: “I Will Carry You,” “The Freedom to Choose,” “Sole Ambition,” ““Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out,” “If I Were a Dog,” “Lord, Help Me to Treat Others Like I Treat My Dog,” “Relax, I’m Just Taking You to the Next Place,” “Be Like Goldie?”, “A Dog’s Life,” “Bone of Contention,” “Goldie & the Chocolate Factory,” and more. All of these writings were real life lessons that I had gained from a dog. But she wasn’t just any dog, in my mind, she was “the best dog in the world.”
The Enemy of Death
I hate death, I really do. The Bible calls “Death” an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). It’s the enemy of all living things, but it hasn’t always been so.
When God created life at the very beginning, nothing was supposed to die. Ever. Death entered the scene because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God. Ironically, the very first thing to die (because of their sin) was an animal. God clothed Adam and Eve with the skin of an animal to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21).
It’s strange to me that as often as death happens, without fail I’m always surprised by it. That in itself is disturbing to me. Even though I had been expecting Goldie to go, and she died exactly how I prayed she would (in her sleep, at home), I still struggled to understand what I was feeling on the days following her death. After some self reflection, I think I finally nailed down what it was. I felt helpless. Death makes a person feel helpless and powerless. The day of death is one of the few things that we, as humans, have absolutely no control over. Death is creepy, it’s our enemy, and some people, even today are paralyzed and enslaved to the devil for fear of it (Hebrews 2:14-15)
However, in the midst of all of this death, there’s some really good news! Jesus has the keys to Death and Hell. (Revelation 1:18). That means Jesus is in charge of death, and it’s not just happening to us all willy nilly like. In other words, we are powerless over death, but Jesus has all power over it! When we surrender our lives to Him, we are under His authority, and since He has the keys, death is under His control. In the end, Death will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with Hell and all those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life. (Revelation 20:14-15)
“Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds, But God Can Heal All Wounds in Time”
Every death creates a loss, especially to the degree that we are close to the one who has died. Death leaves a special “heart ache” that just wasn’t there before. I have to say, though, that time is certainly lessening that pain for me. I appreciate the fact that God gave us the holy pain reliever known as, TIME.
Do all dogs go to heaven? I don’t know, but I think the better question might be, are you and I going to heaven. Since we usually don’t know, and we can’t control the day of our death, it’s pretty important to get that straight. Does Jesus want all of us to go to heaven? I’m sure He does. (See 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4) But it takes us to receive His gift of eternal life. (Romans 10:9-10)
Ultimately, we don’t have to be afraid of death or wonder if we’re going to go to heaven when we die. When we surrender our lives to the One who holds the keys to death and Hell, it’s then that we can really start to live on the earth.
Thank you so much for reading!
Shalom, Big D