Goldie is getting old. All the signs are there. After a long walk, she will limp on her right, back leg; several times over the past few months she has become incontinent while she was sleeping; she has a harder time jumping up onto things, and even her eyes look like they are drooping a bit…the fact is, Goldie is getting old, and all these things remind me that she will not be around forever.
Just as the Seasons change, so life is a ‘season’ for all of God’s creatures.
Fall is in full swing here in the U.P., and one thing I have noticed about the seasons, is that while they do absolutely change, it’s not without warning. Fall is a time for preparation for Winter. We have plenty of time to ‘make wood’ as the Yoopers say around here. There’s time to ‘batten down the hatches’ (a strip of wood used to secure tarpaulins placed on ship’s hatches in preparation for a storm) as it were, by closing things up, etc. We are ‘getting ready’ for Winter. God has made it this way so that we are not taken off guard, and thus left unprepared for what is to come.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers, died last week. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer many years ago. In 2005, (thinking he only had a few months to live) he said this in a Commencement speech to students at Stanford University, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” It turned out the Cancer was operable at that time, but ultimately Steve Jobs, with all his success, died at the age of 56.
The Bible says many things about our short stay upon this earth: 1 Peter 1:17 “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” and again in James 4:14 “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
The bottom line is that neither we nor our pets are going to live forever on this earth. Even though getting old or being sick can remind us that our lives are short, death can still sneak up on the young and the healthy too. Because of that, we all need to be ready. Just as we will always get ready for the winter, it only stands to reason that we might want to give some serious attention to our readiness for eternity as well.
So, how can we, as humans, get ready for eternity? Well, the Bible says there is only One way (Jn 14:6), and that is through accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Surrendering to Him, accepting His sacrifice on the cross as payment for our sins is the way to be saved. One proof of this ‘eternal readiness’ is a life lived for Jesus, and not for ourselves. (Read about the man who got everything prepared so that he could live the ‘good life,’ then died before he could enjoy any of it! Luke 12:15-20). Also, see Romans 10:9-10 and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about how to begin this new life in Christ.
Goldie is still as playful as ever, and still the ‘best dog in the world,’ and I’m so thankful for the gift from God that Goldie has been to me. Still, I don’t think I’m ready for her to go, or for anyone else to ‘go’ for that matter, but everyone and everything that ever lives will ultimately die. Death is simply a fact of life.
A dog’s life is short, but so is ours if you think about it. We should put our ‘affairs in order’ by getting in right relationship with our Maker now, so that we are not taken off guard when the time comes for us to go.
I leave you with these words from the Apostle Paul: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18
Thanks so much for reading,
Update: This article was written in 2011. Goldie died in June of 2016. She was “the best dog in the world.”