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Lessons From Animals--"Hope"

"But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish."
Psalm 9:18


I remember when Brownie joined my friend Scott's family. Scott and I are both animal lovers, and after he was married I asked him, "So when are you going to get a dog?" He responded by saying, "We're praying that God directs us to the right one." It sounded silly to me--you don't pray about a dog, you just get one! As it turns out, I had underestimated the power of God's providence.

Scott's wife Pam was a school teacher, and one day she went out to gather her students from recess. They formed a line and filed into the classroom; but on this particular day there was a newcomer: a grubby, dirty cocker spaniel filed in with the kids at the end of the line. The dog walked into the classroom like he had always belonged there, curled up in a corner and went to sleep. He was a mess; Pam took him home, and she and Scott cleaned him up. They kept their eyes open for notices about lost dogs, but none matched his description. They had prayed for the right dog, and amazingly enough God had answered their prayer.

A good friend of the familyI'm not sure I've ever met a dog with as much character as Brownie. He had a unique personality all his own. And when I came to visit, Brownie was my pal as well--though it might have been months or over a year since last we met, Brownie always remembered me. Scott would often take Brownie to the church with him, and they would pal around. Children were born, and when Scott and Pam would read bedtime stories, Brownie was right there in the room with them. I think back to that day when he slipped into Pam's classroom with such determined fashion: he desperately wanted and needed a home, and something told him that a family would be found there.

Not long ago Brownie began losing his eyesight. Then he became sick. Soon the family had to make the decision that every animal-lover dreads. One morning I received the following e-mail from my best friend Scott: "I think we're going to take Browns in today and lie him down. Very hard. Please pray." A few hours later, Scott wrote: "Browns is with Jesus now. We're doing ok, just sad. Not sure I have anymore tears." Proverbs 12:10 tells us, "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal." And sometimes, what an animal needs most is for there to be no more pain. It is a sad truth to this fallen world.

For the Christian, though, there is a future hope: a promise made by God Himself, that one day things will change. There will no longer be death. There will no longer be tears. There will instead be life, and joy--and that eternally! Isaiah 25:8 tells us, "He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces…" It is echoed in Revelation 21:4, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

I like the sound of this new order God is planning to institute. I hope to see it soon. I hope for that better world. I hope to see again old friends and family, who went before me. I hope for the salvation of those I love. I hope, because God has given me hope.

I hope you do too.


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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