Are there animals in heaven? Will our pets be there? Brad talks about one of heaven’s mysteries while remembering the life of his beloved cat, Old Tom.
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Part Of The Family
It’s hard when we have to say goodbye to a pet, especially one that’s been with us for a while. We get very much attached to our animals. Although they can’t communicate to us in words, we find ourselves talking to them quite often. They are most often found making themselves very comfortable, in the place we love to spend time as well, and that is “home”. We really do make them “part of the family”.
This week, my wife and I said goodbye to our 19-year-old cat, Thomas…or “Old Tom.” The last several years we’ve called him “Old Tom”, as he certainly was living well into his old age. Just a couple of months ago, Tom seemed to be in relatively good health. His appetite, his nature, he always was one to purr for hours on end.
But the last several weeks, we’d noticed a change in his eating habits, and in his ability to hop up onto the couch, or his bed. Within the past week, the discussion of his appetite revolved around whether he had eaten a half of a teaspoon or nothing at all. I was trying my best, giving him butter on a spoon, eggnog, cream, anything to try and entice him to ingest some nutrients. We noticed also, his well-used litter box, never a joy to behold, remained relatively clean, unused.
He loved to sit on my lap especially, and purr. I think just the heat from my body made him purr. The last night he was with us; a Thursday night… he did just that. We didn’t know how much time he had, but we knew it was very close.
On Friday morning, when I came downstairs, he wasn’t sitting up in his bed like he had been the last few weeks. I quickly felt him. He was breathing, and warm, and his eyes were open, but he did not respond to my touch or my voice. He didn’t purr. My wife tried as well to get a response, but it was clear that he was in the final stages of his little life.
We both had a busy day of work ahead that would take us into the early evening. We knew it was time to say our goodbyes. Rubbing his little frail body, feeling the heat from him, yet knowing he was hours or moments away from his final breaths, was certainly… for us both, a tug at the heartstrings.
Simon Peter and Thomas
It was as a family, all those years ago; our daughter just a baby, and our sons not yet teenagers…that we decided to take twin kittens and bring them into our home. Within hours, we could see that one of the kittens was very bold, and the other much timider. I proposed we should call them Simon ( bold after the disciple Simon Peter ) and Thomas ( hesitant, doubtful) after the disciple Thomas… who is commonly referred to as “doubting Thomas”.
The cats were wonderful playmates. They loved to be in the house but loved to spend time outdoors as well. It wasn’t uncommon for them to venture outside, and one or both of them, stay away for a couple of days. They were inseparable for several years, till on one occasion, Simon didn’t return home. It was a sad few weeks, and we believed that he had been potentially snatched up by an owl. Neighbors had seen an owl in the area, matching the timeframe of Simon’s disappearance.
We all missed Simon immensely, and we could see that Thomas knew something was different as well. With time, Thomas adjusted and though we were still saddened at the loss of Simon, we were happy to put all our extra affection over onto Tom. It was but a few short years later, that virtually an identical disappearance would occur, Thomas not returning home from an outing. A couple of days became a week, and we began to worry. A week became 2 weeks, and we feared the worst. A month, and still no Thomas, and we accepted the fact, that he must have met a similar fate.
Old Tom The Cat
You can imagine the lump in my throat, the surprise, the joy, when I realized it was in fact, Thomas. It was a really special moment, and I was so happy to be the bearer of this almost miraculous news, and break it to my wife and kids.
So Tom even more so worked himself a special spot in our hearts. He went onto live almost another ten years, and we often wonder what adventures he encountered in that outing that lasted a half of a year.
My wife and I buried Old Tom, in a wooded spot he liked to roam, not far from our house. It is not something that one does very often, dig a hole in the earth, to lay one of God’s living creatures to rest. It seems to me, that this would indeed be a final farewell, and that serves as a very tangible reminder that things in this life pass on, and pass by.
Are There Animals In Heaven?
Our pets, as near and dear to us as they are, and as much as we humanize them at times, we must ask ourselves, will there be a place for them in Heaven? God’s word does speak of animals in heaven, but it does not mention that our pets will be in heaven, nor does it refer to animals as having an eternal soul.
Will the animals in heaven, be animals created in that heavenly abode, or animals that have moved onward and upward from this earth? We cannot say with 100% certainty. We know that in Genesis, the creation of every beast of the earth preceded man. Certainly, God had a plan and a purpose, and a love for the animals, and God has blessed mankind with animals.
There’s a beautiful passage in the Gospels, that speaks of the love a Shepherd has for his lost sheep. The passage is to show us figuratively, that Christ the Good Shepherd, will seek all the lost sheep. But we see from the passage as well, that there is a deep “love” for the animal, it is not rescued simply because it is part of the fold that brings in sustenance. In Luke 15 we read:
4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Considering the literal aspects of this text, and that it was an example Jesus himself used, it is undeniable that God knows how much love we as men and women, place upon our animals, that we would “lay it on our shoulders, rejoicing.”
A Heavenly Mystery
When we say goodbye to a dear pet, one like “Old Tom”, that that has been a part of our family for nearly 20 years, it naturally brings about a few tears.
There are many mysteries surrounding heaven, and the viewpoints regarding pets in heaven cannot be definitively ruled out. We do know one thing definitively, however, that GOD IS LOVE, and that when we get to heaven we will find that whatever animals God has chosen to be there… whether they be our pets or not, all will be perfect and beautiful, according to what our Heavenly Father has deemed best.
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith-affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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