Christian Short Stories
Is Bear Waiting for Me in Heaven?
By Charles Robey
Mr. Robey is a retired Executive Field Agent with the American Kennel Club. His extensive Christian perspective, within the dog care industry, enables him to give a spiritual common sense approach to the care and treatment of the family dog.
“Why are you up so early, Amie? Your Dad hasn't even left for work."
“Well, Mom, Bear wasn't feeling very well last night, and I just want to go check on him.”
To make a long story short, Bear left us that day. And the first question out of Amie's mouth was, “Did Bear go to Heaven, Mom?”
A parent is supposed to have all the answers. But frankly, my mind suddenly became blank that day. However, as a family grounded in the Christian faith, there was only one place with which to turn, that being, sound Bible-based Christian council. So, Amie and I just sat down with hands clasped, and uttered a simple prayer. This move seemed to help some. However, the human side of life seemed to take over as Amie continued her grief.
“I can understand you being upset, Amie. Why don't we go talk with Pastor John? He always seems to have an answer to all life's questions. After all, Pastor John seems very close to God in his Christian teachings.”
And so we met with Pastor John. “Good morning, Pastor John. It's very nice of you to see us on such short notice. You probably remember my daughter, Amie. We always sit together in the front pew, by the piano. You know the place I'm sure, as we always sit with my Father,” I said.
“Yes, the older man who always falls asleep,” Amie interrupted with a big laugh.
“Yes indeed, I remember you all very well,” replied Pastor John. “And I'm sorry I put your Grandfather to sleep,” he said laughing. “What may I do for you this fine day?”
“Well, Pastor John, Amie's little pet dog, the one who has been a friend of the family for the past ten years, has just died. Amie is so upset. She keeps asking me questions that I just can't answer.”
“And I want to be sure Bear is in Heaven,” Amie proclaimed abruptly.
“Oh, I see,” replied Pastor John. “Has Bear been a good little doggy?”
“Well, you see, Pastor John,” Amie said as she struggled to hold back the tears. “Bear was our little three pound cuddly ball of white Poodle fur, who never had a nasty bone in his body. Bear would always do his business outside, would always neatly eat his food and drink his water, and would never bark or act up towards strangers. He was known for sensing the family’s moods and would always act accordingly to satisfy our longings. As you can tell, Bear was just a well adjusted member of our family, who gave us many satisfying moments. So, why wouldn’t Bear go to dog heaven? Well, I just don’t know. The one thing I do know is that Bear gave us many years of unconditional love. Do dogs really go to heaven? Or is there a specific Dog Heaven, Pastor John?”
“Well, Amie, God did not intend for us to have all the answers to life's mysteries, and even us Pastors, who sit on God's front pew, as you do, don't have all the answers,” exclaimed Pastor John. “But I do know one thing, Amie, God loves us all, including all the animals, and He wants us to be happy in Heaven. After all, did He not protect all the animals by placing them safely in the ark when He cleansed the world of sin and started over? So, why wouldn't Bear be waiting for you in Heaven?”
Pastor John then continued by sharing a few encouraging Bible verses. Amie didn't say a word. She just responded with a big smile and gave Pastor John a big hug.
“Pastor John, you were such good help today,” exclaimed Amie's Mom, Hazel. “I can just feel Amie's comfort. She has not smiled like this since the last time her and Bear walked to the park. You know, just before the,” but she stopped short of bringing the memory to mind.
“Well, I'm certainly glad I could help you. As your Pastor, I hope to see all of you in church Sunday. And by the way, I'll try my best to keep your Grandfather awake, Amie.”
We then left for home, feeling good. And, Amie even started repeating the Bible verse Pastor John had given her.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose". (Romans 8:28)
"Mom, Mom, can we stop by the animal shelter on the way home and check out the puppies?"
Amie's big hug and smile was a definite answer to our prayers that day. Amen.
In her excellent book, Holiness in Hidden Places, Joni Eareckson Tada says, "If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn't surprise me. It would be just like him. It would be totally in keeping with his generous character … Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy—utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous. … Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness of joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on his children."
So, we needn't be embarrassed to want to be with our pets in Heaven, as God is the creator, of all living beings, and God loves us all. We know that it's God's eternal plan to restore us from the bondage of sin. Then we have biblical grounds for not only wanting but also expecting that our pets may be with us again on the New Earth.
In a poem about the world to come, theologian John Piper writes:
And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream—
Almost—and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there.
Well, are you now convinced that your four legged family member may be waiting for you in Heaven? So be it. Just relax and reminisce those many enjoyable memories.
(© 2010 Charles Robey – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)
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