5 Reliable Reasons to Rejoice Through Unexpected Tears

My dog died this morning. We were in the kitchen. When I bent to brush something off his face, he lay his head heavily in my hand and his legs gave way. I caught him and lowered him gently to the floor.

I got down on my belly, forehead to forehead with him. I petted him and spoke softly to him, reassuring him and telling him how much he was loved. I texted my son and husband to come quick, but I felt his last breath on my cheek before they got downstairs.

I am surprised how hard this hit me. Makali’i, aka “Maka”, just turned 12. Because of his breed, pug mixed with Japanese Chin, he’d already exceeded lifespan expectations. He was slowing down. I knew this was coming, yet is anyone ever really prepared?

As sad as today has been, I have found 5 reliable reasons to rejoice through the many – oh so many – unexpected tears.

1. God’s Timing

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a

God’s timing is a reason for me to rejoice through tears today. I am so thankful we were home when the end came for our pup. If it had happened yesterday, we would not have been. I was even in the same room when his strength gave out.

I am appreciative that it didn’t happen on Easter Sunday, when assistance resources may have been closed and when our family might have carried a twinge of our sorrow into future Resurrection celebrations. There is no time I would want my pet to die, but the inevitable was timely in God’s plan and is giving me joy through my tears.

Are you sad about anything today? The circumstances which cause your tears are likely different than mine. Still, God’s timing is perfect for you too. Have you noticed it?

2. God’s Provision

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

If you read Part 2 of the Amazing News series, you know that the thing I disliked most about my new house was the back door. It is not compatible with a doggie door, so I had to walk Maka several times a day. Oh, what a fool I was!

That door was a precious provision from God! You know why? Because taking my dog out 4 times a day, meant over 100 walks together just since we moved here 26 (ish) days ago! I cherish the memories, the photos, and the quality time I got to spend with him while we got accustomed to this new habit.

Pug on a sunny sidewalk
Makali’i (means “Little Chief” in Hawaiian)
March 2010 – April 2022

This photo was taken on a walk yesterday. He always loved the sun and he appeared to be smiling as it shone down on him.

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was take Maka outside. It was apparent that he was unwell, so my husband booked the first vet appointment he could find. It was for 10:30am, which was miraculous because most offices were booking weeks out.

Maka didn’t live long enough to keep his appointment, but when we called to cancel it, the receptionist had answers to all of our questions. She was God’s provision for us. She had the right words, she knew the next steps, and she gave us direction when we were lost in loss.

We rejoice through our tears because God provides what we need. He knows what is ahead and lays all the proper groundwork. This has been a recurring theme. If you need proof and encouragement regarding God’s provision, please read this true story and this one.

3. God’s Grace

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

I asked earlier if we’re ever really prepared for tragedy. I can say with certainty I wasn’t. I’ll bet you’d answer in kind. This verse in Hebrews tells us why. God gives us grace in our time of need. He doesn’t promise to make it available in advance. He comes through with what we need when we need it.

This is an unexpectedly tearful day. And yet I’ve been able to rejoice because of God’s grace. He has taken the load and directed my thoughts. This doesn’t bring my sweet puppy back, but it does soothe my heart. It gives me strength to focus on the gift I had instead of what I’ve lost.

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’


“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:8, 9

If you are in need, God’s grace is sufficient. Open your hurting heart to Him. He makes it possible to rejoice through our tears.

4. God’s Comfort

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

I would love to say that I crawled near to God in my grief today. I don’t think I’ve had the wherewithal. But He has pulled me close. I feel His comforting presence.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4

All day, through reassuring my dying dog, reminiscing with my husband, and helping break the news to our kids one by one, I am being comforted by God. And as news spreads, friends who have been in these shoes are reaching out with knowing words of empathy.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

The amazing thing about comfort is that we get to pay it forward. Our grief gives us first-hand understanding and enables us to encourage others through theirs. If you’re not ready to help someone else, that means you’re still in need of comfort yourself. Accept it from God and others. One day you’ll be able to give it back out.

5. God’s Understanding

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

I am relying heavily on God’s understanding. I lost a pet, but God the Father watched His Son die. And God the Son was described by the prophet Isaiah as a “Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”.

My heart is not held by One who does not understand. My God created me, knows me, and understands me like no other. I’m so grateful to lean on Him today.

Do you feel like no one understands you? God does. My friend, I pray you allow yourself to be known by Him, especially when you’re sad.

A pug photo with text that reads "I'm grateful, blessed, and kind of a mess..."
I saw this phrase somewhere today and adopted it wholeheartedly!

No question about it, today is tough. I now expect my tears. But I have 5 reliable reasons to rejoice my way through them as I grieve.

If you are unsettled today, I hope you find encouragement in the goodness of God. He is ready to meet you where you are. Cry out to Him and He will answer!

To everyone who’s lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye
And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
And love for the broken heart
And there is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus

Cry Out to Jesus (<– Click to listen)
Song by Third Day

41 replies on “5 Reliable Reasons to Rejoice Through Unexpected Tears”

So sorry to hear about your loss! Praying for you right now. Yes, God is so good to comfort us, even in the death of pets. We lost our beloved Darcy a year ago, and it was so hard to see her succumb to cancer. But we were blessed to have her in our household as long as we did. May you look back, in days to come, with fondness for your time with Maka. What a sweet-looking fellow…he looks like he was a snuggler. Here’s what I wrote about Darcy a year ago…sounds like your Maka might have been a similar friend. May it bring you comfort as well:

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Nancy Williams is my friend and introduced me to your blog. We lost our 18.5 year old Westie a few weeks ago so I can definitely relate to every thing you said today. We still miss her but we are old and her problems and ours were making our lives harder. God’s timing is perfect.

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Well said! And nice to ‘meet’ you, Gigi! Thanks to Nancy for the connection 🙂 We share a delightful friend in Nancy, don’t we? I’m so sorry for your loss – I feel for you, literally. Deep in the gut. But you’re so right – God has perfect timing. Normally I would say that He tests my patience with His perfect timing – I’m typically running ahead of Him. This time, He moved faster than I would have preferred – but that actually means I was lagging. His timing is always right!


I am so sorry for your loss. The pain of loosing a pet is unlike any pain I have felt before, and it sticks with us. The pain is so strong because the joy of their lives was equally strong, and that alone is enough to rejoice about!

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Oh Mama Lava …. I am so sorry for the loss of your pet. They are our family and the hurt is deep. I lost one of my pets about a year ago and I totally understand your heartache. It’s not only the loss of the pet but our daily lives change as well. So glad that you know the One who can and will comfort you. Praying for you to have space to grieve and peace that follows. Sending you hugs and best wishes! Leigh

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You’re right about the daily routine – last week I would have called the walking, feeding, and cleaning up after Maka chores a but this week, I’m thrown off by not “getting” to do them. Thanks for understanding- and also, I’m sorry you understand 💕

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My heart is breaking for your loss. And it also rejoices in the faith you have~allowing God to draw you into him. Your faith, through hurt and loss, is comforting to me. I am having a season of loss~but not in a precious pet or human,…I know one day my Finley will die. I’ve lost pets and loved ones. Through the pain I want to lean in, just as you, to the comfort of a Christ who cares. Please know that throughout my day I will be praying for all of you. What a precious sweetheart you lost. 😢💛💕🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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Thank you, my sweet friend! Pets are gifts of such a special kind. I’m blessed in that I haven’t lost many of my closest people. This experience showed me a glimpse of how hard that will be someday. I’m so incredibly thankful for my Lord who never leaves and never lets go! Thank you for your kind encouragement and prayer.

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Oh, mama! I’m so sorry. You lost a family member. I am crying with you, as, I believe, is God.

We, too, are losing something (though not a family member.) Our house. I have no idea where we will go or what we will do. Everything seems hopeless right now. I spend my days in tears, though I know in my heart that God has a place for us and a reason beyond my understanding. It is heartbreaking to have to leave memories (and things) behind because we have no place to go. But they are just things, I must keep reminding myself. Maybe irreplaceable, but still just things. I would leave all things and follow Jesus. But, as one of my kiddos pointed out, it’s not Jesus asking us to leave. Please pray for us (as I know you have been) and I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for being a clear, Christian voice in all of this chaos.

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I’m so sorry Rita! I have been there. It was several years ago – when Maka was still a puppy. God provided a rental for us miraculously, at the last minute, when we lost our home. I’m praying he does the same for you! My way of letting go of sentimental things in my home that I cannot keep is to take photos of them. I have an album in my phone where I can scroll and enjoy the memories sparked by those things. This past move caused us to downsize a lot. And I keep remembering – the less we have that is precious on earth, the more prepared we are to leave it all behind for the real treasure in Heaven. I hear you that Jesus is not usually the cause of disappointing situations, but my thought is that if He doesn’t intervene, He is using it for something greater… and that ultimately makes it part of His will, right? Praying for us both, my dear friend!


Also, Rita, just wanted to share another thought… 4 times in the past 8 years I’ve had to move, and each time there was a deadline and not much for possibilities, and my initial mode was to be “Martha” and search and do all I could do to find the next place… but God reminded me that His ways are higher than my ways, and He sees around the bend of the crooked path and can see what I cannot see…and He is not bound by time, so He already has the next place all lined up and will bring it in just the right time… not too early, not too late, and I could count on that because He is all-knowing, and faithful! And each time, His faithfulness moved me to tears, as He gave above and beyond what I was even asking for…and each time, I asked for His forgiveness for my lack of faith and vowed that never again would I fear or worry but would just trust Him (and guess what I did next time… yep, I sure did…I let fear and doubt sneak back in until I would remember His faithfulness and then whenever those voices of doubt came, I would say outloud, “I trust You, Father, I trust You.” And the doubts would leave as I trusted my Father Who never fails us!!! He has your next home right within His sight and will bring you to it.. “I trust You, Father, I trust You!” ❤️

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I too am so sorry your beloved Maka is no longer with your family. But you are a Philippians 4:8 woman, Mama Lava, thinking on all the positive things even as you grieve. That shows wisdom, maturity, and strong faith!

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Mamalava, I’m so sorry for loss and your pain…and have been there, too… but as I read your post, was thinking how quickly you were able to write in such a way as to minister to others through your pain. What a blessing your faith is to others! (And it led me to those two links you enclosed of WOW stories…that were such inspirations…thank you!!). Sending a heartfelt (((hug))) 💝

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Mama Lava, I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your sweet doggy. I am profoundly convinced that God never intended for us to experience death of any sort when He created the world. It just hurts so much. I am also profoundly convinced that He transfers our pets to heaven for us. Sending you a very big, loving hug, and thanking our Abba with you for the beautiful provisions that you have shared. 💕

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Thank you for your kind words, my friend! I was thinking about what it would have been like if sin and death never entered the world and people and animals lived forever in harmony with God. Sounds so nice! Looking forward to the redo for eternity!

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So, so sorry for your loss. My rottie is aging, and has cancer, and I dread the day. This brought me so much comfort.

It’s cliche, but there is beauty in the pain and I am so glad that you brought these positives up. I will need to search for something.

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I’m so sorry in advance. There is no waylaying the sadness in it. But Jesus. He really does pull us in and ease the grief I think the key is to let Him. Lean in, ya know? I just prayed that He would give you extra peace when you need it most. Blessings, friend.

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“God’s timing is a reason for me to rejoice through tears today. I am so thankful we were home when the end came for our pup.” Indeed, what a God we serve! In His Grace, in His Compassion, in His love Amazing love; He is faithful. Father, thank you, for giving this family, the opportunity to be there. May your peace, be their portion. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Thank you. I’m sorry you understand if that means you’ve also lost a furry friend. Pets are special gifts from God. And He doesn’t leave us when they have to. He takes care of us! 🤎


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