1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
To some this would seem an offensive discussion; but grieving over Jazz has me thinking about my grampa and what it was like to mourn him. I'd be the first to tell you that when my grampa died; it was like a line was drawn across time. The time before and the time after. When he was alive, after he passed. It wasn't easy to let him go, in fact this month marks the anniversary and I wonder still how things seem to keep on going as though nothing has changed. There were more than a few retreats to my bed to cry in the first days after the Lord took him home.
Tomorrow marks the first week since Jazz was put to sleep. Hardly an appropriate comparison, huh? She was a dog. I know we like to humanize our pets, I'm guilty of that to ridiculous degrees (ask my family). The truth of it all is that she was an animal and in my true heart, I don't believe dogs go to heaven. Sorry. I know it's an unpopular concept and one hardly worth arguing. But there it is, my own personal apostasy.
I believe that dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, etc. live a short number of years and are gone. They are not redeemed by the blood of Christ and are here for our purposes, be that of food or companionship.
This is why I am having a really hard time mourning Jazz. This is why the tears are still sneaking up on me and taking me by surprise and the sadness doesn't seem, yet, to be abating. I miss her, oh how I miss her. I miss her being here when we walk in the door and laying across my legs in bed so I'm pinned in the same position all night long. I miss her smelly breath kisses and just laying my hand on her furry side and feeling stress roll off of my own body. It's how I'm wired, I'm a pet-person. And that's why this hurts, because she is really and truly gone. I will never see her again. She wasn't made of the same stuff I'm made of, she was made to be temporal.
But my grampa, that was a mourning that concluded in sweetness, even in the midst of the pain. My grampa was made of better stuff, eternal stuff. He was born into a chance for redemption and he took it. We think of salvation as the best thing that we can do for ourselves, but on this side of his life it has come to be the best thing he could've done for me. You see, in that moment, whenever it happened, that he invited Christ to redeem his life; he made sure he would be my grampa forever. I just have to hang on a little while longer. I accepted his Jesus, so our destinations are sealed, our paths will cross again. My deepest mourning has never been open-ended desperation.
Silly as it sounds, losing Jazz has made me hurt for all the people losing loved ones far from God. I have always hurt for the lost. But suddenly I think of the people who don't have the opportunity to see their own grampas again. We won't all go to heaven, you know. Only those who have called on Jesus as their savior and lived their lives in submission to his leadership have the promise of eternity with him.
This may be a goofy approach to a salvation discussion; but don't leave behind people who mourn without hope. You aren't a spotted old dog who was meant for a short time in the world. You were made of eternal stuff.