“He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Cor.1:4, NIV)
Several weeks ago we said goodbye to Barkley, our almost 12-year-old Goldendoodle. To say it was or has been easy would be a lie. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a furry family friend would say the same.
But, I promise, this post is headed in a hope-filled direction.
I want to share with you an amazing glimpse, unbelievable moments of contrast, the Lord allowed us to see with Barkley’s passing.
After weighing the alternatives, my hubby and I decided to relieve Barkley’s future suffering. What was that moment like when Jesus decided to leave Heaven to relieve our suffering? His decision cost Him everything. Yet He willingly gave up His life to save ours.
We lovingly, attentively stayed with Barkley and whispered our love for him while he slipped away. Jesus lovingly, longingly whispers His love for us, not willing that anyone would slip into eternity without Him.
Barkley lavished on us unconditional love. Even after we had scolded him for polishing off a two-pound bag of brown sugar we had foolishly left on the kitchen island, he flashed those luminous big brown eyes and extended his paw to us. Jesus lavishes on us His unconditional love. No matter what sin we’ve committed. No matter how far we’ve strayed or missed the mark. No matter how often we’ve rejected or refused Him. He opens His arms, extends His nail-pierced hands, and whispers His love and forgiveness. All we have to do is accept Him.
We left the vet’s and drove away without Barkley for the first time in 12 years, awash in the experience, reminded of the joys that were and will never be again. The sense of loss and emptiness became overwhelming. Is that what Jesus feels each time we refuse His love? Each request for a relationship denied, each knock on our heart’s door unanswered, each gift of salvation unopened?
Barkley’s better now. He loved us well and gave us so many joy-filled, warm memories. Our lives are better because he was a huge part of every day!
Know what? When we accept Jesus, our lives are better because He gave His life for us. Every day on Earth may not be sunshine and rainbows, but as we allow Him to become a bigger part of our lives, He makes us whole. Better.
Will life ever be the same without Barkley? The jury’s still out. But please don’t spend your life, or eternity, without Jesus. Nothing is better than Heaven!
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