“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures along the ground’.” (Gen 1: 26 NIV)
Three wooden boxes on my bookshelf…waiting… gathering dust. The oldest is 4 years old. Inside are the ashy remains of my three beloved furry-friends – Tammy, Toffee and my beloved Maxdog .
Three boxes on my bookshelf…waiting.
I’ve been holding onto these boxes all this time; I’ve simply not been ready to release them. It’s the last thing that remains of my beautiful, departed dogs. Up until now; my latent grief has simply been ‘boxed’ up together with these three boxes. Closure has been delayed.
But today is the day! Finally, I am ready. It’s time to release them to whence they came.
2014 has been my year to be at Bible school. It’s been a year where I felt I was been called to a period of studying God’s word. It was an opportunity to uncover a clearer picture of what my faith was all about. Although I have been a Christian for a long time, my soul hankered after answers. I needed more knowledge about my faith so that I, in turn, would be able to encourage others who struggle like I do.
In January this year, when I started at Bible school, I was very aware of a statement that many of my animal-loving, blogging friends had so often repeated to me.
“If my dog doesn’t go to heaven, then I don’t want to go there either!”
I had few answers and even fewer words of encouragement for these mourning friends. I understand their pain and their deep connection between them and their beloved furry-friends.
The loss of a companion animal is devastating. The loss of my own beloved Maxdog was devastating too. It’s been four years since I said good-bye to him. After all this time, my tears still well up when I think of him and the blessings that his presence brought into my life. There are so many memories – some happy, some sad. We spent ten whole years together – with Max constantly by my side. Without him in my life, I may well not have been here today.
Nowadays, I have a much better understanding of that time of my life. I am absolutely convinced that Max’s presence in my life was directly ordained by the God, Father and Creator of the Universe. The word of God tells me that He has always known me – that He “knitted me together in my mother’s womb”(Ps 139:13). He has always known my deeper emotional needs too. And he knew, just when Maxdog was needed in my life. I believe strongly that Max was sent to me – a buffer against the world and the difficulties I was having at the time. He was a gift from God at a time I needed it most.
So now …three boxes remain… and it’s time to let them go.
For me, scattering these ashes in my garden is symbolic of my trust in God - for Him to receive the spirit of my three beloved companions. It’s clear that these animals never really belonged to me in the first place – I was simply their ‘steward’ during their lifetime here on earth. They were my helpers. But they belonged to God and to God they must return. Scattering their ashes is my gesture of “thanks” and acknowledgement to God. I am eternally grateful for the role these animals played in my life. I know now that I no longer need to rely on their memories, but instead I can turn to Jesus – who understands and faithfully loves, cares and protects me. (from myself)
At last, here are the words of encouragement, I have longed to share...
I have learned during my Bible studies that God cares deeply for the animals of this earth. He gave them to us – to name and to use for our purposes on earth.
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Gen2:19 NIV).
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31 NIV)
God’s covenant (after Noah), I believe, also extends to the animals. And this is why I say this: scripture tells us:
"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 'I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.' " (Gen 9: 8-13)
“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Gen 9:15-16)
So now it's time...and I've scattered their ashes in my garden.
Fly free, sweet Tammy…
Fly free, sweet Toffee…
Fly free, sweet Maxdog…
"Thank you Father, for the blessings these beautiful animals brought to me. I release them to you now in love and trust. You are an amazing Creator and an amazing God!"
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."