As Nannygranne and young Mason settled at the patio table for lunch, Nannygranne reminded Mason of his question about his dog going to Heaven. “You know, Mason, I had a dog named Penny when I was a little girl. I was just about your age when I got her, and she lived until after I got married and moved away. The only thing Penny ever did that she shouldn’t have done was to kill one of my daddy’s chickens. It was a wonder Penny learned to leave the chickens alone after that, but she did.”
Nannygranne took a sip of her tea and continued, almost as if to herself. “What do you think Heaven’s going to be like?”
Mason forked the ice in his glass, watching it bob up and down. “I don’t know. I guess people will be happy…and sing a lot.”
“Yeah. And Jesus will be there. Boy! Can you imagine Him looking at you and smiling? And the Bible says there will be angels and other creatures. Of course, all the champions of Faith will be there, too—the Apostles, Kings of Israel, Moses, Abraham, and Noah! It’s sure going to be something. I like to think I’ll see a lot of people I love there, too.”
They ate silently for a moment. Then Nannygranne asked, “What do you think we’ll do all the time up there since we don’t have to worry about anything?”
“Mama says there will be lots of kids in Heaven because Jesus said there would be.” Mason, unaware of the magnitude of his statement, contemplated his sandwich, removing the lettuce and quickly hiding it under the edge of his plate. When he noticed Nannygranne watching, he ducked his head sheepishly. “Lettuce feels funny in my mouth, Nannygranne.”
“It’s OK, Mason. I’ll remember next time.” Smiling, she continued, “You know, while you were playing at the playground, I looked up some more Bible verses about animals. I have to be honest; the Bible doesn’t talk about dogs having souls or even going to Heaven. But we can read between the lines sometimes.” She pulled her phone closer, pulled up her Bible app, locating the Book of Job, reading from chapters 38-40 in the Easy English Version.
“Between the lines?” Mason wondered.
“Yes, of course, Mason. Sometimes God had His writers paint pictures in our minds with words. And sometimes He lets us peek into His realm. He let Job do that and talks a lot about animals. Listen to this and think about what we learn about God and the animals.”
“…the Lord spoke to Job, and this is what he said: You have asked many questions about the things that I do, Job. But you do not really understand the things that you say. Now be brave, and listen to me. There are many things I want to tell you…You do not know how I made the world. But it was I who put it in the right place. You do not feed the ravens. When the young ravens are hungry, they ask me for food…The wild donkeys are free to run where they want…I decided that the dessert would be their home and that they would live there…the ostrich is careless with her eggs. This is because I did not make the ostrich wise…But when the ostrich runs, it runs very fast…past the fastest horses…The hawk does not learn from you how to fly. You do not teach it to fly toward the south in winter. You do not tell the eagle that it must fly high into the sky…and where to build its home up in the mountains.”
“And here’s another verse, Mason, showing that Jesus loves His animals and stays busy seeing after them, too.” Turning her phone toward Mason, she indicated he should read Luke 12:6.
“People sell five small birds for two little coins. But each little bird is valuable to God. He takes care of them all.”
Nannygranne’s excitement energized Mason. “And Jesus was friends with the animals, too! When He spent forty days alone, right after He was baptized, the Bible says in Mark 1:13,
“He was in the wilderness for 40 days. During this time, Satan tried to cause Jesus to do wrong things. There were wild animals near to Jesus in the wilderness, and God’s angels were His servants.”
“Hearing those verses, how do you think God feels about animals?”
A joyful smile spread across Mason’s freckled face. “God loves animals, too! And the animals love Him!”
“I agree. We have to remember, though, that animals aren’t like humans. God cares for the animals, but He cares for us more. Remember reading how God knows each little bird? Let’s read the next verse in Luke 12, and you’ll see what I mean.
“…God takes care of them all. He does the same for you. He even knows how many hairs there are on your head. So do not be afraid of people. You are much more valuable to God than a large number of small birds.”
“But we must remember that God didn’t give the Gospel to the animals. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, not for the animals. Animals weren’t made in the image of God as He made us. The animals are God’s business, and He takes care of them. God does say He wants us to live forever with Him in Heaven, but He doesn’t say that about the animals, even though He cares very much for them, too.”
“So, we really don’t know for sure then?” Sadness stole into Mason’s tone.
Nannygranne gently responded, “I guess God doesn’t want us to worry about it. He just tells us He’ll take good care of them. But there is one of those word pictures for us about the animals. It’s in Revelation 5:13. God paints a word picture showing all of creation–animals included–praising Him when He comes in the clouds to take everyone to the Judgment Throne for sentencing. Everyone will be there—every living thing God created.
“And then I heard every creature in Heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
“There are just some things God didn’t tell us, Mason. But God does promise us that we will be completely happy and will never feel sad when we’re with Him in His place. In Revelation 21:4, it says,
“There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”
We also learn from 1 Corinthians 13:12 that there are some things we just won’t understand until we get there, then God will tell us everything. It reads,”
“For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”
Stopping, Nannygranne waited for Mason to speak. He got down next to Chief, then looking over at Tiger, staring at them from his perch. “Chief, God is always watching after you. You and Tiger are going to be just fine. I don’t know if I’ll see you in Heaven, but that’s OK because we’ll both be just fine. Just fine.”
Nannygranne quickly stood, gathered their plates, and quietly headed for the kitchen. She left Mason with his friends in their moment, turning away so he wouldn’t see her tears. He was too young to understand them. But she was sure the Lord did.