With every chink of metal against the hard packed ground, with every puff of dust, sweat mingled with salted tears. Yes, even death of our fury friends hurt. We cry, we miss them. Their presence give comfort. Why? How? Knowledge of their life span does not lessen the moment when breath vanishes its repetitive motion within them.
Dilly was the part of our Dilly-Dally. Our excuse to making sure we do dilly-dally in this hectic experience we call living. They slow us down. She was my shadow. She was my belly nudger, just to get our babies to move in my womb. She was my gardener companion. My creek-side bank enjoyer, and my wanna be lap dog. She passed by my side down by the creek bank listening to her favorite sound, children’s laughter, and watching them splash in water. We all miss the eleven sweet years of this special package of pure delight.
The other part of our retrieving, dynamic duo is Dally. She is mourning. If she was too far away, where a voice’s call had opportunity to bounce off the hilly-ravine landscape and diminish, a certain tempo of whistle would send her bounding back. But, not today. My eyes immediately went sappy. I grabbed the camera to begin the trek back to Dilly’s grave, thinking maybe she would be there. Suddenly, I stopped, turned back toward the van and looked, there she was lying in the trunk of the van (we had left it open). This is where, two days earlier, we introduced Dally to the lifeless Dilly. While we had dug the grave, Dally had never left Dilly’s side in the back of that van. She would groan, sit up, lay down, rub her paw from her eyes to the end of her snout in a repeated pattern. Why do dogs mourn? She senses loss, she misses her canine companion.
“For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22 (KJV)
Every creature experiences life under this world and the climatic change from the Genesis 3 account, sin introduced the agony of death. Psalm 104 revises the Creation story to put us in a meditative awe at God the Creator. You see, creation is not a scientific theoretical reduction, it is a very special act of God in the animation of His creativity. Take a moment to read all of Psalm 104.
“All of them wait for You
to give them Your food at the right time.
When You give it to them,
they gather it;
when You open Your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
When You hide Your face,
they are terrified;
when You take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
When You send your breath,
they are created,
and You renew the surface of the ground.”
Psalm 104:27-30 (CSB)
Ever pondered the order of creation? In respect to life forms, plant and animal life came first (Genesis 1:11-24). Then, humanity was fashioned (Genesis 1:26-27). Of course, the caretaker’s (Adam and Eve) first sights, sounds, and experience of life was surrounded by the very life forms they (and now us) were commanded to exercise control over.
When you are giving a gift to someone, naturally, you put it together first. From the very beginning God says to humanity, “I have given you…”. He had already put together creation as a gift ready for us to enjoy and be responsible with it as sovereigns over it (Genesis 1:28-31). God’s order was good. The created world is meant for us to serve, and to serve us. Therefore, we, as image bearers of God, are expected to faithfully be employed with an attentive superiority to His creation. God not only is served by His creation, but He serves it with His wondrous works and provision. Why? Because God is good.
But, because sin happened, death doesn’t “just happen,” death reigns (Romans 5:17). My dog mourning isn’t an isolated sentimental miracle of nature. It is simply her natural response. All creation moans, as I did in my labor pains of giving birth to my children. Just as the prophets (ex. Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea) proclaimed, sin takes a toll on the ground, grain, animals, and trees. Sin strips joy and gladness. There is no greater way this stripping is displayed than in the interaction with death.
The seeds lie shriveled in their casings…
“How the animals groan!
The herds of cattle wander in confusion
since they have no pasture.
Even the flocks of sheep and goats suffer punishment.
I call to You, Lord,
for fire has consumed
the pastures of the wilderness,
and flames have devoured
all the trees of the orchard.
Even the wild animals cry out to You,
for the river beds are dried up,
and fire has consumed
the pastures of the wilderness.
Joel 1:17-20 (CSB)
How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
Because of the evil of its residents,
animals and birds have been swept away,
for the people have said,
“He cannot see what our end will be.”
Jeremiah 12:4 (CSB)
For this reason the land mourns,
and everyone who lives in it languishes,
along with the wild animals and the birds of the sky;
even the fish of the sea disappear.
Hosea 4:3 (CSB)
However, liberation is coming. God will not leave His Spirit of life (breathe) subjected to the pangs of death forever. Christ came, died, and resurrected to restore humanity’s relationship with Him (Romans 4:20-5:1-11; 6:22-23). Where faith drips from His grace, and hope seeps from His glory, all who believe on Jesus Christ, the Creator and the Savior, there is reserved a new heaven and a new earth to dwell with God forever.
But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth,
where righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13 (CSB)
“For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the
past events will not be remembered or come to mind.”
Isaiah 65:17 (CSB)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for
the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
Revelation 21:1 (CSB)
Do you believe in the promised heaven and earth to come? I do.
Heaven is no cosmic fantasy. I watch for that day with eager anticipation. How glorious is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue His redeemed from the wicked, the evil one, and the sin of the flesh, that destroys all we were meant to love, and where we were meant to dwell. Choose Christ’s gift, enjoying His creativity and rest eternally. I hope to see you there too.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together,
and a child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze,
their young ones will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like cattle.
An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit,
and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.
They will not harm or destroy each other
on my entire holy mountain,
for the land will be as full
of the knowledge of the Lord
as the sea is filled with water.
On that day the root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples.
The nations will look to Him for guidance,
and His resting place will be glorious.
Isaiah 11:6-10 (CSB)