Today’s tough question:
“Will we be re-united with our pets in heaven?”
As a big-time dog lover, I sure hope so!
From my research, the Bible doesn’t discuss the immaterial/non-physical part of our pets after death. I’d be overjoyed to arrive in heaven and find my dogs sitting next to the Master. Certainly, the heart longs for such things.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven. How that would work for pets, I’m not sure. Let me put it this way: When we reach heaven, we will see that God is perfectly just and righteous in all of His decisions. We will have no objections to what we encounter in heaven. None whatsoever.
Rather than tell us about how we are to view animals after they die, God’s Word tells us how to treat animals while they’re alive. This verse is wonderful: “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10 NIV)
God entrusted His animal kingdom to our care. “Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV) We are stewards of all creation, including animals. When you’re a loving master to a pet, you’re obeying the Lord’s command in Genesis 1, exercising proper dominion.
The Bible tells us that God pays attention to animals. No animal is too small or too numerous to escape his notice. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” (Matthew 10:29)
When the Bible depicts a new earth after Jesus’ second coming, the description includes animals. Previewing God’s perfect kingdom, Isaiah wrote, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” (Isaiah 11:6-7)
Behind today’s tough question lies another question: How do I grieve for a pet? This can be an awkward question. You may not feel that you’re supposed to grieve over an animal the way you do over a human.
Tell that to the tears and heartache! “Supposed to” and reality don’t always match up. Some of the most intense emotions I’ve ever experienced were feelings of grief over the death of my family’s dogs.
Allowing yourself to grieve is the healthiest way to process sadness. And losing a pet is sad. Grief has its own timetable. You grieve as long as you grieve. In the middle of the grief, you can thank God for the years He gave you with your pet.
In all grief, God is our comfort. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Eventually, as time brings a measure of healing, we embrace a new season. Our journey continues. In His kindness, God will bring new joys, new opportunities, maybe even a new furry friend that you can enjoy.
Previous tough question: Was God Less Merciful in the Old Testament?