“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” (Job 12:7-10)
Don’t hate me for my confession. I can watch movie after movie, with literally hundreds of human beings dying fictional deaths and I feel little. Oh, I can blame Hollywood, or something else, but the reality is much the same. But, have an animal suffer at all, and I am a bowl of mush. I will leave a theater before watching a painful dog movie. I have yet to see “Marley and Me.”
Am I a bad person? Perhaps a little. Yet, there is some comfort in not being alone. I would bet I am not the only one who has a special affinity for pets. My worst theological angst was for a dipstick Assembly of God minister in Minocqua, Wisconsin, who answered a little boys request, “Pastor, will my dog go to heaven.” This “man of God’s” response? “No!” This blow hole went on to tell the little boy in his hometown newspaper that nowhere is there a reference in the Bible to pets going to heaven, so your puppy will not be there when you die.
Even my wife wanted me to write an editorial telling the minister that the little boy would see his puppy in heaven long before he’d see his miserable pastor with wings of his own. But, then I calmed down and just preached on it the next Sunday and am still writing devotions about it 29 years later. But don’t worry, he didn’t get under my skin! Darn it!
I do feel bad that I have lost my entertainment compassion for humans being murdered out by fictional assassins. But I will continue to be moved by the hurt placed on our pets. Perhaps it is because pets are so vulnerable. Children who are abused in real life or on the silver screen have the same affect on me that puppies have on my psyche. I pray that everyone will come to realize that all God’s creatures are vulnerable and in need of care. Sometimes the most violent among us are the most in need of care. Pray for the adults who are easy to forget about, because they are no longer cute. They, too, suffer and need God’s love and our care. But continue to pray for little children and pets, that they may experience security and love throughout their lives.