Updated: May 5, 2020
If you have me as a friend of Facebook, you will know that my family recently lost our beloved pet bird, Buddy. Although he lived a long happy life and we knew he was old, nothing can really prepare you for the painful sting of something or someone passing. Every time I lose a loved one or a pet I find myself wondering, "When will I see them again?" Even though I know there is a God and a heaven and a second coming, when you feel the kind of sorrow that death brings it just seems hopeless. Doubt becomes a constant companion and a strew of "what if" questions seem to torment you. Why does death feel so miserably permanent?
As I have been once again going through grief and contemplating all these things due to the loss of my pet bird, I've taken a new perspective for the first time...
We need the pain of death.
I will be the first to admit, that I get too comfortable in my cozy little life. I have been incredibly blessed. I have a nice house to live in, an amazing husband, two delightful pets (a cat and a dog), all the food I could ever want, and many people who I love and who love me back. Because of this, it is so easy for me to stop longing for heaven... and maybe I even stop longing for God. Sure, I long for Him when I am sick or when I see a car accident or when I see someone who is homeless on the side of the road, but those are passing feelings. The chances of me thinking about those people again are fairly slim. It isn't until I lose someone in my own personal bubble, that the rose-colored glasses come off and for quite some time I see the world for what it really is- dirty, sad, and ruined.
I realize that many people have it worse than me, and perhaps that allows them to see the world in its true light more frequently. It reminds me of several verses in the Bible that speak about how much harder it is for the wealthy to inherit or be willing to accept the kingdom of heaven. Why would we want to go to heaven if we already have everything we could ever want or need? I remember when I was in high school I actually prayed that God wouldn't come back to earth until I was older because I wanted to "live a little" first. It is in these moments of pain and suffering, that I have started to praise God. As uncomfortable, as sad, as unhappy, as heartbroken as I am I thank God for helping me see that I don't want to stay here.
Now, I don't think God wants us to be miserable all the time. Thankfully we are able to get through many challenges even if it doesn't feel like it at the moment. Thankfully God has provided a sort of balance where we are sad sometimes but also very happy at other times. Whenever I lose my pet, it is very hard, but a few months or years later I find myself getting a new little furry friend that that brings me a lot of excitement and happiness. Many people who lose spouses are able to get remarried. Many people who lose friends or family members are able to connect with other loved ones in their life. As hard as earth can be, I believe God always provides a way for us to endure.
But the memory of that death never goes away completely. It is a permanent memory.
Today, I find my mind wandering to the emotions of God Himself. He too must go through the deaths that we experience, only he doesn't just go through our deaths- he goes through everyone's. Every second 1,800 people die around the world. Every second. Can you imagine going through that? To make matters worse, He has to watch every plant, tree, animal- He watches everything die. Some deaths, from his perspective, are permanent. No human could handle that amount of constant suffering.
God didn't have to put Himself through that. He technically could have destroyed this little planet as if it never happened. That wouldn't make Him a very loving God though... and so He didn't. He allowed us to survive even though it was going to be harder on Him than anyone else. If He is truly that loving and that selfless, I believe he is trustworthy. I believe He knows how I feel when I am at my lowest, and He won't abandon me even if it feels like all hope is lost. He knows our pain, and He wants us to lean on Him. He will make it right very soon, and there will be no more death, no more pain, and no more suffering (Rev. 21:4).
Heaven is waiting and it is real. We can see our loved ones again... and I think even our pets will be there.
I am praying for every person in my life, and every reader who might be going through an especially tough time as they read this. I am praying that you will find comfort and peace. I am praying that even if you feel completely alone, you will remember that God is there. His suffering is greater than anyone else's. He will never leave you. Have faith and be comforted.