Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Life lessons on faith, love and loss of a dear puppy

Until We Meet Again
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
–John 14:1-4 (NIV)

Tears streamed down my face as I drove past the veterinary clinic.

I said goodbye to my beloved dog Gigi a few days earlier, and her death left me wondering how I would survive.

For months, dementia made the dog I knew disappear. What remained was an imposter who wandered through the house unaware of my presence. One day I had a gut feeling she had little time left to live. God had been warning me for weeks as she became finicky, developed a cough, and no longer played fetch with her favorite ball. Her downward spiral felt like a death in the family, and my heart broke as I slowly lost pieces of the dog whom I loved more than life itself.

That evening I went upstairs to my office, and as usual, she followed me. As I got up to use the bathroom, I looked over at her and she had collapsed, her eyes gazing lifelessly back at me. I knew something tragic was happening and tried to get her to stand up, but she collapsed again, and I carried her limp body downstairs. Just then, a voice interrupted me, telling me not to seek expensive treatment and let her illness run its course. Surely that wasn’t God, I told myself.

The online veterinarian asked me for the color of Gigi’s gums. “Bubble gum pink,” I said. “Not the usual red color of gum disease.” She mentioned the words ‘blood loss’ and ‘congestive heart failure’ and told me to watch her breathing and call my vet the following morning. Until then I hadn’t entertained the thought of losing her at Christmastime, and God reminded me to savor each moment with her like it was our last.

The bond we have with our pets is a piece of Heaven and the reason it is so hard to say goodbye. Their unconditional love is just a glimpse of the overwhelming love Jesus Christ had for us when He came to rescue our lost and dying world. After He spent all night in the Garden of Gethsemane pleading with His Father to prevent His impending suffering, He went to the Cross anyway, because He loved us more than his own life, and He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

The thought of losing Gigi was unbearable, yet her quality of life had diminished, and her continued suffering was not an option. She gave me everything she had, so besides feeding her whipped cream and a McDonald’s hamburger, I would make the one decision she could not make for herself.

On the day I put her to sleep, life as I knew it was over, but I found comfort knowing that one day Jesus will tell her I am coming home. And with a twinkle in her eye, she will tear away from the pack, sprint across Heaven, and stand with Him to welcome me saying, “Mommy, what took you so long?”

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we are forever grateful to You for sending your Son Jesus to rescue us from the power of sin and death. Help us remember that when losses shake the foundations of our lives, Christ's death and resurrection carry the promise of eternal life for us and for those we have lost. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards.

Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

During this year (2022) and the next (2023), Sarah’s devotionals will be published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

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