‘… and also many animals’

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I woke up yesterday morning to find that Emily, one of our Chihuahuas and the smallest one at barely five pounds, had died in her sleep. It wasn’t a surprise. In fact, a daily dose of steroids was what kept her alive for the last few months. We always knew when she needed more prednisone; she would just fall over.  Even with that, she had been in decline. She couldn’t always keep her tongue in her mouth, and she would list when she walked as if she’d had too much to drink. Nevertheless, she carried on as usual being curious and feisty as ever.

Pets are given by God as something to love and something that will love back. Especially dogs, who seem to love unconditionally. Their aim in life is to please us.  They are devastated when they do something wrong — even though they probably don’t know what it was, they just react to our displeasure — and they respond, if you’ve left them alone for five minutes, as if you’ve been gone for weeks. Of course we project human feelings on them all the time, but they can seem almost human.

My favorite verse in the Bible about animals is found in the very last verse of Jonah. You probably know how Jonah was reluctant to preach to the town of Nineveh for fear that they would actually repent and God would save them. Jonah was obviously hoping for a different outcome for a people he judged and despised. It’s an attitude we can understand as we often condemn people in the world for being so sinful that we wish judgment on them instead of mercy.

So in the end of the story, when he does finally go and preach to the people and the people do repent, Jonah is indignant, and goes off to sulk by himself. That’s when God chides him for not having any compassion. Jonah clearly didn’t have any grace to turn outward. And God’s final word to him is the last verse of the book: “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left — and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11)

This entry was posted in Animals, Facing death, grace turned outward and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to ‘… and also many animals’

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love Today’s Catch and the ending verse!

  2. Sandie says:

    Oh John, I feel the loss and the empty space in your home and life.Praying comfort for you and Marti, as you hug the memories and cry. I believe I will see my beloved dogs again,,,for ‘love never dies.’

  3. Ruth says:

    That was lovely and very touching. Had forgotten that part of the story and especially, “and also many animals” thank you!

  4. CAROLE OGLESBEE says:

    I’ve always sort of thought that the Bible is for HUMANS, and whatever covenant God has with animals and the rest of creation is between them and HiM. Sharing that with US would simply distract us even more from what WE need to know and do …and let’s face it – there is more than enough stuff out there already to steal our focus from Him. As we learn more about how sentient animals really are (apes, dogs, dolphins, elephants, even octopi to name a few), AND given that it was Eve and Adam who sinned and ate the forbidden fruit, NOT the animals, I am MORE than sure that our just and loving Father has a plan for animals and that it is a good one. Of course, I have no scripture to back that up (going back to my first point), other than maybe John 10:16, when Jesus mentions the other sheep not of this flock that he intends to bring along… and that’s a stretch at best. On the other hand, I haven’t had any great revelation that I’m wrong, either…and if any of you feel you HAVE, please don’t tell me about it, It will only serve to distract me from what I CAN know about our Father. John & Marti – I am so sorry about Emily, but rest assured, God’s GOT this and her.

  5. jwfisch says:

    I don’t think the John passage works because He s using “sheep” as a metaphor. But I do think the Jonah verse says a lot.

  6. Janie Baskin says:

    My dogs (5) and cat (14 yr old Siamese) have comforted me during not happy times. Unconditional love is wonderful. Don’t forget them in good and bad times for you are the only ones who love and show us yncotional and show it by its study of your eyes as they look back. Even the biggest dog I’ve ever seen melted my heart for its as if he was smiling. Smile back! They know!

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