Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

So long Rascal...

Today, I had to have my 15-year-old dog, Rascal, put to sleep. Years ago, more than 4 and a half years ago to be exact, I would have probably shed a few tears. But not today. for a couple of reasons.

First, he's no longer suffering, and I know that. He had a good, long life for a dog who was left at the end of our driveway as a ?? weeks old pup 15 years ago. We lived on a farm then, and the girls were only 6 and 7 years old. Every night, we'd carry him into their bedrooms so he could "tell them goodnight." He was an inside dog from the start, but roamed outside with the rest of our pack as often as he wanted. As he grew, he became lean and fast. He'd run with me every time I went. I'd run 5 miles, but I bet he went 10, circling me and dashing into the woods and through yards and back and forth across the street. He chased every kind of wild critter that exists in north central Arkansas, and chickens too, the loose ones every time they came to pick ours up. After we sold the farm and moved to town, he chased the squirrels from our yard and once got skunked! Every night, because he'd been a farm dog, I'd let him out late to roam a little like he did in his early years. Yeah. He had a good life.

But the second reason I shed no tears today is because I've learned that regardless how good a dog is, losing it can in no way compare to losing our daughter, Amanda Marie​ Allison. I used to refer to my dogs as people, even went so far as to say I'd kill someone who intentionally harmed them. But after losing my daughter, I realized that no dog, not mine or anyone else's is worth trading for a human life. I used to say I liked dogs more than I liked people, and I really believed that. But after losing a daughter, I now know that's not the case. Now, I'd never want anyone to lose a son or daughter over a dog.

Oh how I wish I was still so naive to be able to shed tears over the loss of this good dog. Oh how I wish I didn't know loss that hurt so much worse. I am grateful there are many who can't understand, who don't know what I know. I hope and pray that they never understand. I hope and pray that they never know. I hope and pray that for the rest of their lives they can continue to think like I used to think about a dog.

I love my dogs, every single one of them. I used to think our dogs would be with us in Heaven. Now that I've really studied the Bible, I no longer believe that. Nothing I've read in scriptures leads me to believe that is true. Rascal was a good dog for the 15 years we shared with him here on earth, but he was just a dog.

Tonight, I'm grateful that we have the hope, the promise that we'll be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven. I'm grateful to know that I'll see Amanda again in Heaven, and spend eternity with her there, If I didn't know Christ, or if she didn't know Christ, I wouldn't have that hope. For Jesus' promise is to those who believe in Him, who trust in Him, and who repent of their sin. So tonight, I'm thankful for that promise, and for knowing that losing Amanda was temporary, that when it's my time to leave this life, I'll be reunited with her forever!

So today I lost a good dog, who was a good friend for 15 years. But that loss reminds me of the promise that gives me reason to live, to fight to survive every storm that passes through my life. That promise is salvation through Jesus Christ. If you're reading this and you don't have that hope, that blessed assurance that when you pass from this life to eternity, you'll be with Jesus in Heaven forevermore, ask me, ask a pastor, read your Bible, even Google it to learn how the peace that passes understanding can be yours.

Jesus wants you to have that peace. He died on the cross so that you can have that assurance. Don't let another day pass without accepting His gift of eternal life.

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