The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will like down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infnat will play near the hole or the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
This is the Word of God. Thanks be to God.
I began my worship today with listing just a tiny little of who God is. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He created us, He sustains us, and He died for us. In His good and perfect wisdom, He created us, knowing that He would have to separate from His son Jesus and send Him to die because of our imperfect faith. He created us to have free will, so we could choose to die in our sin or to live in His grace. And it is His grace alone which allows us to live. We are nothing without God. Are you strong? Independent? Talented? Gifted? Lucky? You would be nothing if He had not given these things unto you. Think about that next time you figure you can make it on your own.
I am listening to The Call, a Vineyard Worship CD. A friend of mine gave it to me a long time ago and I believe this is the first time that I've listened to it. So I have been soaking up the lyrics, listening to the message, and allowing it to resonate with my spirit. I stood up to do something mundane--blow my nose--and before I knew it I was dancing. My feet did not move, but my arms lifted and I found myself reaching out to the Lord, acting out the words of the songs. You are lifted up; I will praise you; I will seek you; Teach me; I believe that only you can save me.
As I danced, my cat came to me and tugged at my pants like a small child asking to be lifted up. I took him into my arms and held him, continuing the dance one-armed until the end of the song. And I asked myself: "What of my cat? Where does he fit in when heaven comes?" And I recevied my answer in Isaiah (listed above), a verse that is somewhat mis-quoted. But as it came to me was the well-known statement "and the lion shall lie down with the lamb."
What will happen when all is melted away and what remains is the new heaven and the new earth? All those who have accepted Christ will live in peace and harmony, praising the Name of the Lord. And all those who did not sin against God will be there also--the angels, and the animals.
I did not think when it came to my first day of the fast that God would speak to me about what will happen to my cat when he dies, but I take comfort in the knowledge that God has a place for him as well. And perhaps someone out there is reading this and you just lost a beloved pet, or you are in the place of making some hard choices, and perhaps this is comforting to you: As the lion will eat with the yearling, the wolf and the lamb rest cheek-to-cheek, so I believe will dogs and cats and fish and gerbils have their own place, for they are a part of God's creation as well, and they never sinned against God like humans did.
So rejoice and take heart, beloved. We will all be reunited at the End. Pray now not for your hamster or guinea pig but for the souls of your children, your neighbors, your friends, that they may live with us all in paradise. For we will all live forever--it's just where that is yet to be determined.