On December 1, my beloved Rascal dog passed away. Though her illness was known for months, her death came unexpectedly and suddenly. That morning, she enjoyed one of her favorite activities, basking in the sun outside our home for almost an hour. I miss her terribly.
Her passing leaves a very raw wound. As I begin the painful process of mourning my beloved canine friend, I don’t have to do it alone. Many caring friends have given me the grace to cry, to tell countless Rascal stories, to not be myself for a while, but most importantly, to lean on them a bit more during this season of sorrow.
The Healer of Broken Hearts has never left my side. The Bible says, “God cares what happens to a tiny sparrow even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail.” (Matthew 10:28, The Message) Christ, who knows my name, who feels my heartache, who collects my tears in His bottle is my constant companion.
Sorrow is a part of life. Living by faith never exempts me from problems. During the challenges of life, it is a deeply rooted faith that keeps me trusting God even when I don’t understand…when I don’t wish to taste the unpleasantness of life.
I can say I am a joyful person, but if I do not remain faithful to God in the midst of mind-jarring grief, then I’ve missed the integrity of heartbreak – the act of loving and worshiping my God even when I don’t feel like it. God understands my sorrow. Faithfulness does not mean I must be perpetually happy. God doesn’t want me to walk around with a plastered, unnatural smile on my face. Jesus Himself wept and understood crushing despair.
Joy in heartbreak is only found by trusting God – by not letting bitterness, resentment or anger harden my heart. He is always at work in my life. When I feel pain or see my life taking an unexpected turn, I question, “Wait. What is this? I don’t know if I agree.” It is in those tough moments that I must confidently surrender my plans to His – to trust Him when I want to reject what is happening.
God can only give the best to me, because second best is not a part of His nature, His character, or His heart. If I call upon Him to help, He will not let me slip through His hands; if I drink from His fountain I will never taste tainted waters; if I walk in His footsteps, I will never be led into pathways of confusion.
Rascal was a great dog. Her loyalty and trust echoed God’s faithfulness to me. Sharing life with her was one small reminder of God’s significant love for me. The sorrow of losing her propels me into the only place I can find comfort – God’s arms. Running to Him means that I am actually in the highest place I could ever hope to be – allowing God to be the everything that I need.