A little over a week ago, we had to make the agonizing decision to put our 14-year-old lab, Hunter, to sleep. For those of you who have four legged family members, you understand the heartache. It’s hard to say goodbye, especially under those circumstances. We really didn’t think she would make it through the night last Wednesday night. Truthful, we were hoping that maybe she wouldn’t because we knew that if she did; we were going to be faced with a gut wrenching decision.
She perked up a little bit Thursday, but our Vet gently confirmed what we already knew in our hearts needed to be done. Drew, my oldest held her head in his lap as the preparations were made. It was fitting that he be the one to hold her, after all, she was his. Sam, my youngest, climbed into the back of my Yukon so he could be beside her and the doctor made room for me to be next to Her, too. We all held onto her and cried as she slipped away.
As we drove home in silence, my heart was hurting for my loss but the pain was compounded because my heart was hurting for my boys. When we reached home, Drew tenderly wrapped Hunter in a quilt, smoothing out every wrinkle and tucking the edges tightly in. Then he picked up the bundle that was once his best friend and gently laid her in the grave he had dug.
He stayed there beside her for a while because he just couldn’t bring himself to leave her side. As I watched my two boys grieve, I found myself at a loss as to how to help them, so I turned to the only One who could help and simply said, “Father, this just hurts so much, please help.” I needed comfort and I needed to know how to comfort my boys.
As I stood there feeling helpless, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 came to mind, “In all things give thanks.” Though I was feeling every other emotion except thankfulness, I began to list out loud all the ways we had been blessed by having Hunter for 14 years. As I did, I began to feel a wave of thankfulness wash over me.
Drew and Sam began to gently cover her up, Standing there watching them, I remembered a verse I had been studying. “ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
I think for the first time, the hope of this verse sunk deeply down into my heart as I fully realized that one day, the hurt that we were feeling would be no more. One day, painful emotions - heartache, fear, loneliness, and despair – all of it will be wiped away. John tells us in Revelation 21:4:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I realized that of all things that I was thankful for, I was most thankful that for those of us in Christ, all afflictions are momentary and light when we compare them with the eternal weight of glory that is to come. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Have a hope filled week-
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