Monday, September 26, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, September 26, 2022

To All the Pets We've Loved Before

When I was very young, I had a pet named Patty the Cat. One day Patty got sick and I was distraught. The pastor of our church – Reverend Watts – happened to be coming over to our house soon and my mom suggested that we have the pastor pray for her. 

The pastor prayed, Patty got well, and I was thankful that God healed my pet.

Fast forward some decades and I generally accepted the idea that pets, including Patty who eventually died at 14 years old, didn't go to heaven. I hadn’t actually challenged the notion, until one day I went to get my shoes fixed. There was a shop on the other side of town that I understood did really good work.

When I entered the small shop, it smelled of leather and had all the trappings one would expect: shoes and boots stacked to the ceiling; polish of every hue and finish; shoe strings, eyelets, and belts of various types and lengths; brushes, buckles, and leather pieces for whatnot; and a three-foot wooden cross hanging comfortably in the corner. 


When I handed my shoes to the older lady who owned the shop, we made small talk. Somewhere along the way, we started discussing pets and their mortality – I think my three-year old cat (Princeton) had recently and unexpectedly died.

She mentioned she had a dog, which she loved dearly, that had died a while back. With a thoughtful expression on her face, she said she hoped to see her dog in heaven – explaining that she knew there weren't sufficient scriptures to support the idea. But for the duration of her time on Earth, she just needed to believe they would be reunited.

That conversation haunted me – in a good way, not the scary way.

I did some searching. There isn't a clowder of scriptures about animals in heaven. There are a few, such as Isaiah 65:25. 

And Proverbs 12:10 states that the righteous care for the needs of their animals. My wife and I do. We have two Cairn Terriers – Scotty and Uhura. (Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t, just ignore the name reference.) They teach us so many things about unconditional love (Job 12:7) and play such a comforting role in our lives. 

The other morning, I was feeling down and Scotty came over and uncharacteristically sat next to my feet. I might have thought it was a coincidence, but when I was feeling down later in the day, he came and sat next to me again. Not so much a coincidence.  

It seems to me that God went through a lot of effort to allow humans to bond with their pets, only to snatch “Princeton” away for all of eternity when he dies. Feels a bit odd for a loving Father to do that, doesn’t it? 

When we go to heaven, will we see our pets? I dunno, but I’m going to toss my hat into the ring with the Shoe Lady's. It’s one of those things I feel God just might pull out of his hat after we’ve arrived in heaven and are in the midst of greeting family and friends (“And look who's here to see you!"). As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15b) and look forward to reconnecting with our furried, feathered, and such friends. 

And if we don’t get to reunite with our pets, I am certain that when we do get to heaven, God is going to more than make up for all the love and joy they brought to our lives (I Corinthians 2:9). Not sure how, but He will. 

This meditation is dedicated to Uhura and Scotty, who are lying next to me as I write. And of course Patty, Princeton, the Shoe Lady’s dog, and all the pets – present and past – of those who are reading these words. We love you! 

Isaiah 65:25

King James Version

25 “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.

Proverbs 12:10a

New International Version

10a The righteous care for the needs of their animals.

Job 12:7

New International Version

7 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you.

Joshua 24:15b

New King James Version

15b But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

I Corinthians 2:9

New King James Version

9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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