Matthew 10:29,31 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (NIV)
Recently, I made the tough and painful decision to put my beloved dog, Ally, to sleep. This was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, as I struggled with feelings of guilt and doubt about taking a life, even if that life were only a dog. Many animal lovers can appreciate the unique bond we share with our pets and the significance of the effect their death can have on our lives.
In the weeks following my loss, I prayed and asked God for comfort. He reminded me of today's Scripture, which touched my heart as I read how God cares even for the sparrows, and even more for me. I also read in the book of Job:
Job 12:10 – In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV)
Job 12:7 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you. (NIV)
So, what can the animals teach us? As I reflected on these verses of Scripture, I thought about God's wisdom and glory that can be observed throughout all His creation. I also thought about the qualities that made my dog so special to me. Her companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love are what I will miss the most. Then, I realized these are the same qualities God is calling us to share in communion with Him and others.
It is also clear to me that God must understand my sorrow, as He Himself is sensitive toward all His creatures and has a purpose for every living thing that He has made. And He also wants us to be concerned about His creatures like He is. His wisdom instructs us, "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal." (Proverbs 12:10 NIV) In return, they serve us in many wonderful ways. Some animals even work to keep our communities safer, while others provide assistance for the handicapped and are a blessing to the elderly.
I believe God has answered my prayer as I found the comfort in His Word. The death of my dog has now given me a new awareness and appreciation for all that God has made. But what has helped me the most is the knowledge that nothing happens outside the will of our heavenly Father, even the loss of a dear pet. For those of us who have experienced this kind of grief, we can be assured that our heavenly Father cares. Nothing is too big or small for Him. We need just think of the sparrows. When they fall to the ground, not one is forgotten by our heavenly Father. And He loves us even more. What an awesome God we serve!
Prayer: Father, thank You for the many ways in which Your Word can minister to our hearts, even after losing a dear pet. We look to You for comfort. Amen.