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.
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.
“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.
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 loveCry Out to Jesus (<– Click to listen)
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
Song by Third Day