Dear Dr. Sala, can you explain why God let my dog get hit by a car and die?” There are some questions that even theologians struggle to answer. So should a parent tell a youngster than his dog is now with Jesus in heaven? Or should he or she tell him that when animals die, that’s it? Or what should a parent say to assuage the loss of a child’s pet? Many adults do not really understand the bond that exists between a child and his pet. When I was a youngster I had a dog that was my constant companion, and when my dog finally died, I was a young man in college, but I wept when I got news that Coalie was no longer with us.
Will we find “good pets” in heaven when we finally arrive there? While I am somewhat reluctant about sending good pets that die to heaven, neither would I rob a child of the thought that (theologians plug your ears for a few moments) there are some animals in heaven.
Isaiah 65:25, a passage that refers to heaven says, “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.”
I, for one, believe that our Heavenly Father is sensitive to the heart cries of little children. Never shall I forget the time when our youngest daughter was about six years of age and had a hamster for a pet. In the event that you are not familiar with that breed of little critters, a hamster is a small animal that is usually kept in a cage, but for whatever reason, the hamster escaped. Nancy, our youngest child was very fond of the little pet, and after a week the animal had not been found. My concern was that our cat had dispatched, “Danny” as Nancy called him. We knelt by her bed for evening prayer, and she prayed, “God, please bring Danny back!” My faith was about zero in this regard, but there was no way I was going to tell her not to pray about this.
We had no sooner finished praying than Danny, the wayward hamster, came crawling out from under a piece of furniture! And Nancy screamed, “Danny!” Oh for the faith of a child! That’s one answer to prayer that neither of us will ever forget.
Let’s face it! It’s tough trying to explain some things to a child. I recall the story of a little boy whose toy car stopped working. With tears in his eyes, he took the toy to his father and said, “Daddy, why doesn’t my toy work?” In a few minutes the dad who was an electrical engineer, diagnosed the problem–a solenoid had failed on the little car. But the youngster didn’t know what a solenoid is so the father picked the lad up in his arms, hugged him and said, “Daddy loves you! I’ll help you fix your car!” And the boy dried his tears and began playing with another toy.
Twice the book of Revelation says that God himself will dry our tears in heaven! When we cross heaven’s threshold perhaps we will be left with one “Why?”– one that may be with us for all eternity–Why did you love me as you did?” Yes, that’s the greatest question we will ever face. “Why did you love us, unlovable as we are, enough to come to earth, die on the cross, and show us the way back to heaven?” Thank God for His love, something we may never understand, but we can enjoy forever.
Resource Reading: Isaiah 25
Text: He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:8.
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – October 6, 2017