Sunday

Dog Heaven?

I had an interesting question this week from a friend of mine who asked “Do dogs go to Heaven?”  Some folks might think this is an odd question and at times I probably did too, but as I have grown to see what love they share and how much I always want to be around them, I have also thought the same thing because I want it to be true.

Because we all have free will with thinking and opinions, many people can answer this in a very short sentence and the answer would be “No, there is no Heaven” and I am not here to debate this or sway opinions or to give a lesson but that’s what free will is all about, the right to believe what you want.  There are so many unanswered questions throughout the universe and this is a minor question in the grand scheme of things, but to a dog lover, it is a big deal and I will take the point that there is a higher order/power and I know many people have asked this same question. 

I grew up in a religious home and I so remember my Father would always tune in Reverend Billy Graham's Revival during his heydays on our old black and white TV and we always listened to the fire and brimstone sermons that he gave.  I have always had a great admiration for him and especially when he said, "God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there." Animals aren’t nearly as valuable as people, but God made the animals and he has touched many people’s lives through these animals.

We live in a world as complicated as Chinese arithmetic and no two people can agree on any one thing except that the love for a dog can melt your heart in an instant and change the whole way you look at the world.  So to answer the question, I don’t know, but I know what I want.  I am a pessimist and sometimes believe the worst about things but hope for the best, but if I believed in heaven and I do, and I could pick the things I wanted.  At the top of the list would be a reunion of me and my dogs…and again I would see that tail wag at “just” the tip when I said their name, that head burrow between my armrest and arm, just to get a pat on the head as I type and just last night, as I write this blog, Abbie wanted to get closer to me and I backed away from the keyboard she jumped in my lap while I leaned all the way back in my chair while she licked my brow and I will tell you, if this is anything like Heaven, I’m looking forward to it…

As I suddenly appear in a beautiful unfamiliar forever home, my dogs run to meet me in all their splendor and robustness, jumping and barking and turning circles.  I sit down in the cool tall grass while they all smother we with lick’s and kisses as we all roll and play and I know the Lord provided me with everything for my perfect happiness in heaven…and running from a distance like a young child would to its parent are my pups with their tongue and ears flopping from side to side, I would again see, Ranger, Ruby, Bob, Keely, Ellie, Keko, Toby, Max, Katelyn, Nelly, Thaddeus, Grace, Kacie and many many others who came to welcome me home before they ran back to their own loved ones, truly this is a dog’s lovers heaven and our journey begins…and as Dutchess can now finally speak…”Did you bring a Frisbee?”  Ken

By The Rev. Dale Chrisman Rector
Billy Graham tells this story: "Early in my ministry, I arrived in a small town to preach at a revival. I had a letter to mail and asked a young boy how to get to the post office. The boy told me and I said thank you. Then, I invited the boy to come to the revival meeting. I said "If you come to church this evening, you can hear me tell everyone how to get to Heaven." The boy said "No. I don't think so. You don't even know the way to the post office."
I've been thinking about Heaven lately. I've experienced several deaths of church members, family and friends. But I've also experienced several deaths of pets. Jacque and I lost our beloved yellow lab a couple of months ago. Several other members and friends have lost their pets. So, the question comes up "will we see our pets in Heaven?"
Before I address the answer to that question, let's look a minute at Heaven itself. First, I believe many ministers fail to engage this subject very often. Additionally, I think in today's society we have such a strong focus on money, sex, drugs, youth, fashion, food, that I think Heaven just gets overlooked. The Bible and subjects such as Heaven are just not very popular.
Now you might be thinking at this point:  what do YOU know about Heaven, anyway? Have you ever been there?" My answer, of course is "No, not personally. But I have a very dear and close friend who has. He came here and told us about it and showed it to us. His name is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Prince of Peace. The King of Kings."
Let's approach the answer to the question of will we see our pets in Heaven this way.
Will We Know Each Other in Heaven?
Absolutely! On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah knew each other and Peter recognized them. In Jesus's story about Lazarus and the rich man, didn't the rich man, after he died, recognize Lazarus and Abraham? There's a lot of scriptural evidence that we'll know each other. Fathers will know their children, wives will know their husbands. It'll be a family reunion like no other!
We're told that, at the moment of our death, angels will accompany us. Lazarus was accompanied to Heaven by angels and in Hebrews it says "God's angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation."
Will Our Pets Be in Heaven?
• Everything needed for our total happiness will be in Heaven. Because Heaven is a place of eternal joy, and if being with our pets is what it would take to make us eternally joyful, then I believe there will be animals in Heaven.
• We know that God created animals when he created man and woman when everything was perfect. It was man and woman who disobeyed God and created sin as a barrier between us and God ... not the animals.
• We know that in the book of Elijah, he was picked up and taken to Heaven by a chariot drawn by a team of horses.
• In Isaiah, he describes what will happen once God's creation is restored: "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain."
• If "to die is to gain" as Paul said, why shouldn't we enjoy even more in Heaven the things we loved on earth? Why wouldn't that include our beloved pets?
• And in Revelation, John describes God "making ALL things new." I believe that includes animals.
Please listen to the Words of Jesus as written in John and consider how we are to prepare for Heaven.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's House are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

What a place! Remember. As the old hymn says: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through." Heaven is our home, not earth. I believe firmly that there will be animals in Heaven and that means we'll be reunited with our pets that have gone on before us.  Billy Graham
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