This post is part of the weekly series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.”
Revelation: 22:4-5, NRSV
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Entire Suggested Reading: Revelation 21:10-22:5
All Dogs Go to Heaven
My grandmother tells of how one Christmas she found me cradling our Jack Russell terrier in my arms and reading to her from my Children’s Bible.
“What are you doing?” my grandmother asked.
“I’m telling Cassie the story of Christmas,” I replied.
“But honey,” my grandmother answered, “Cassie is a dog!”
I turned up my nose and said with all the dignity a seven year old could muster, “That doesn’t matter! I still want her to go to heaven!”
In many ways, I’ve been telling the same story ever since that day.
Stories of Heaven
I have always had a love of words. As a young girl, I frequently hid between the pages of a book. It was preferable to facing the darkness that surrounded my life. I preferred to populate my world with dragons and fairy stories instead of facing the monsters that existed in my real world. I preferred a world where things made sense. I took solace in stories that offered the comfort of good triumphing over evil. I wanted to be a Lady Knight. I would sit in the back of the school bus, a notebook open on my lap, penning tales of warrior princesses who always saved the day.
Yet even then, the Holy Spirit was working on my heart. As much as I loved fantasy, I preferred Bible stories even more. In that holy book I found story after story of a loving Father who raised up the lowly, championed the underdog, and turned the very world order upside down.
How I Picture Heaven
Not so very long ago on Facebook, I saw an image of someone had shared of a group of joyous puppies bounding through a door. The caption read, “This is how I picture the doorway to heaven.”
This image struck a chord with me. I have a hard time imagining heaven. I know that it must be amazing and more beautiful than a human mind can possibly comprehend. For me, one of the most beautiful things about heaven is that we will be reunited with the loved ones who we have lost, including our animal friends.
One amazing aspect of the Biblical narrative that it makes a complete and perfect circle. The story of God’s love begins and ends in a garden. The story begins in the garden of Eden and ends with a vision in Revelation of a new heaven and a new earth. The garden of Eden was full of lush vegetation and many animals. The New Holy City will include plants and animals as well.
Our Great Creator is the God who created all things good. God will continue to care for all of creation by making provision for the plants and the animals when Christ comes again. I take a great comfort in the words that describe the beauty of God’s Holy City where we will at last be in full communion with our loving Creator.
I’m not certain exactly how that will look, but I am certain that all my loved ones that have gone home to glory will be there and we will at last be reunited in our Father’s house, where there are many rooms. I look forward to seeing my grandfather once more.
I’m also certain that my sweet Jack Russel, Cassie, will be waiting for me at the pearly gates, wagging her little white tail.
Because, as I’m sure you know, all dogs go to heaven.
This post is part of the series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.”
Now, it’s your turn! What Scripture verse is inspiring you this week? Let me know in the comments below!
Thursdays are always a really long day of the week for me. As a pastor, Sunday feels like the natural beginning of my week. By the time I get to Thursday, I am tired and drained. That’s why I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday.
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