“There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 2 Samuel 12:1-3
One of the beloved pets of the Paul Anderson Youth Home family died today, after being struck by a truck on one of the roads bordering the Home. Boomer was a delightful black Lab, full grown, though only about two years of age. He loved his home and all the young men, and they loved him back. He was a tireless retriever; of balls, Frisbees, pine cones–anything you could throw. He never tired or stopped; it was we who grew tired of throwing. Boomer did not simply return what he retrieved; with a smart flip of his head he actually lobbed the ball or object into your waiting hand and prepared to go after it again. His death was painful to us all; and we were struck with the empty, terrible feeling of loss.
I imagine most of you have experienced the loss of a pet, and perhaps this story will remind you of your feelings at such a time. Most of us are united by our love for animals, God’s creatures: “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all. This love for animals is certainly reflected in God’s image in us, and we learn both about Him and about ourselves in our care for and enjoyment of animals and pets. For some people they become their only family and companion. It shouldn’t be so, but it is. And most probably God thought even of this when He made the myriad, colorful kaleidoscope of animals that grace his creation; more diverse than mankind itself. Conversely, those who abuse animals abuse themselves in so doing; will think little of abusing their fellow man; yet most seriously, they abuse the Creator who gives them life.
God from the very beginning revealed how He sees His remarkable and zany creatures, and Adam must have enjoyed hilarious delight in naming the animals God paraded before him in the Garden of Eden. We do not have an abundance of passages in Scripture speaking specifically of pets in the home. The Old Testament prophet Nathan’s story in 2 Samuel which he spoke to David to expose his sin, nevertheless, reveals the poignant truth of the love of animals, especially those animals which become a beloved pet in the midst of a family. And just as we learn in this story, inspired by the Spirit of God, of how we ought to live in relationship to one another, so these pets, especially dogs, teach us of the fruit of faithfulness, loyalty, love, and non-irritated devotion. They fix their eyes on our face to see what we want them to do. In a living picture they portray how we ought to wait patiently and earnestly upon God for direction and guidance in all things, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of our faith.
Meditate on what God is teaching you of your relationship to Him and to others the next time you enjoy a few moments with your pet. They are more than mere companions; they reflect the beauty and creativity of their Intelligent Designer; for just as the trees of the field clap their hands in praise of the Creator, so these pets praise Him in loving you.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me and expressing it in the way you created all your creatures.
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