Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jazz & Jesus

(Written 7/4/07)
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.
Be redeemed.


Trish said...

I think Jazz and your Grandpa are
together, walking on the Farm.

The Lion will lay down with the lamb, God created all things great and small.

That really makes me think!!!

Deb said...

Now this post has the potential to open up a huge theological discussion about whether or not our departed pets will be in heaven with us....
Based on a bunch of things, (Some of them are actually scriptural even!) I choose to believe that our pets WILL be in heaven with us. This could be like the pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib debate...HUGE, I'll tell ya!

If you must, go ahead and live with your personal apostasy...It's okay--doesn't affect your salvation in any way. (ahem) ;)

By the way...AGAIN...another great post (which should be PUBLISHED) addressing our need for the redemptive work of Christ.

Debra said...

I like your honesty and being candid. It takes courage and boldnes to be transparent. Thank you.

The fact is you are addressing an issue that needs to be addressed and that has to do with the reality of grieving. WE grieve loss whether we want to admit it or not. How we grieve is very different from one another because each of us is different. What we grieve is also very different because each experience their own losses. Paul helps us to grasp grieving in Philippians 3. The Holy Spirit being our Counselor knows how to counsel us in the grieving process and bring us through it. All grieving and mourning has an appointed time in which to grieve and mourn and then it is to end and we are to know gladness and joy in the place of the grieving. The main thing is to be enabled to know and understand what the grief is and where it is coming from so that we can be delivered from grief and healed. Be comforted in this process, for the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. The best thing we can do for anyone grieving is to give them a listening ear and let them vent and pray for them the whole while they speak so that they can hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to them out of their own mouths. Being a safe place for one to vent as one struggles through the grieving is from the Lord Himself.

Jada's Gigi said...

Made of eternal stuff...Amen! interesting spark for your thoughts but I followed them know I think mourning for pets is really a mourning for ourselves and what we have lost...and the loss feels acute even for pets...but you have totally redeemed that conversation by pointing out that our human loved ones are made of better stuff...the stuff of God...and if His redeemed... we never truly lose them...good post!

KayMac said...

Good post. I like how your heart is being tugged to compassion and concern for those who don't have the hope of that sweet redemption in Jesus.

Mrs. Mac said...

You need to go get a new pet. Not to replace Jazz ... but to have a new 'friend' that gives lots of unconditional love, listens to your problems without interrupting, is warm and snuggly on a cold night and never questions who is boss ;)

And your grandpa is making his yummy green beans for you when you get to heaven. He's been waiting for you and will greet you and take away the ache you still have in your heart for him.

If there are dogs in heaven, I'm sure Jazz will love on you too as a bonus ... just what if!

As Christians we can hold out hope and witness to our loved ones right up to our/their last breath.