WILL MY DOG GO TO HEAVEN?

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.

Why Did God Make Cats and Dogs?

Sitting together on the back patio, Nannygranne was enjoying her time with nine-year-old  Mason.  She watched him run and wrestle with his faithful friend, Chief, the gentle giant Great Dane.  Rocking with Tiger the yellow tabby in her lap, Nannygranne soaked up the innocence around her.  Kids and animals:  priceless.  The sun was growing higher, warming the air.  It was a perfect autumn morning.

Mason called out, “Watch this, Nannygranne!”  He proceeded to play dead so that Chief would “rescue” him, nudging him over and over, trying to coax him to return to play.  Then, laughing, Mason scrambled up, running toward Nannygranne, Chief happily barking after him.  Breathless, he plopped down and stretched out on the wicker couch next to Nannygranne and the cat.  “Nannygranne, why did God make cats and dogs?  Will Chief get to go to Heaven, too?

Nannygranne smiled, remembering her own childhood companion, Penny. She, too, had been unable to imagine Heaven without friends like Penny.  “God really did well when He made our pets, didn’t he, Mason.”

“Yep,” Mason agreed as he petted Chief’s huge head, now lying on Mason’s stomach.  

“How about we get a snack and something to drink and see what God has told us about that.  Sound good?”

“Yeah!  Can we have some chips and dip?” Mason hoped since Mom wasn’t there to disagree. 

“How about apple slices with peanut butter and honey,” Nannygranne offered.

Grinning good-naturedly, Mason admitted defeat.  “OK.  That’ll work.”

Sitting together at the patio table, Mason munched on his snack. Nannygranne began, “How about we look up verses about animals in the Bible?  You remember singing the days of creation.

Day 1, Day 1, God made light when there was none.

Day 2, Day 2, God made clouds and skies of blue

Day 3, Day 3, God made plants and flowers and trees.

Day 4, Day 4, sun and moon and stars galore,

Day 5, Day 5, God made fish and birds that fly.

Sixth Day, Sixth Day, God made animals and man that day.

Singing boisterously, Mason dramatically bounced in his chair, wagging his head back and forth as Nannygranne laughed.

“So, the first thing God says about dogs is that He made them the same day as humans. But there was something different about humans.  Do you remember what that was?”

Mason searched Nannygranne’s eyes for a hint.

“Here you can read it.  This is an investigation!” 

Mason leaned in, peering where Nannygranne pointed on the page.  

“Gen 1:25-26  So God made every kind of animal. He made the wild animals, the tame animals, and all the small crawling things. And God saw that this was good. Then God said, “Now let’s make humans who will be like us. They will rule over all the fish in the sea and the birds in the air. They will rule over all the large animals and all the little things that crawl on the earth.”

“So what did God make different about animals and humans?” 

Nannygranne waited, suppressing a smile while Mason scratched his chin, obviously in “deep deliberation.”

Finally, Mason ventured, “He said the animals were good, but He didn’t say the humans were.”

Nannygranne pointed to verse 31. “Well, in verse 31, after He looked all of it over, He said it was all good.  Good try, though.  Guess again.”  She wanted Mason to make his own discovery.

“Well, He put the humans in charge of the animals and fish and birds and even the bugs!”

“Good observation!”

Mason had another thought.  “Maybe God made them and us the same day because He knew we’d be friends!”

“Nice thought, Mason.  What else did God do differently about humans that He didn’t do for the animals?  This is the most important part, Mason.  You’re a great investigator!  Look closely.  What do you find?”  Nannygranne knew kids love a mystery, and so does God.

Peering again at the verses, Mason suddenly found the answer.  “He said He’d make humans to be like Him!”

“Bingo, Sherlock!  You see it!  God made both.  God made both good, but God made humans more than just good.  He made us like Him and to take care of and be in charge of,  the animals on earth.”  

She turned the pages of her Bible to Genesis 9:3.  “OK, Mason.  Now let’s look at another reason God gave us animals.  Now I warn you: You’ll meet a lot of people who don’t know about this.  So let’s really think about what God is saying here.”  

Mason leaned closer cautiously, unsure of where this was going.  Then he read quietly, 

“In the past, I gave you the green plants to eat. Now every animal will also be food for you. I give you everything on earth—it is yours.”

Mason looked up at Nannygranne in horror, “You mean God made dogs and cats to EAT?”

Laughing, Nannygranne said, “Hold your horses there, cowboy.  God later said some animals were good to eat, but not all of them, and God didn’t allow His people to eat dogs.1  We’re not finished reading.  Turning to 2 Samuel 12:3, she indicated Mason’s next reading.  

Mason began to read.  

“But the poor man had nothing except one little female lamb that he bought. The poor man fed the lamb, and the lamb grew up with this poor man and his children. She ate from the poor man’s food and drank from his cup. The lamb slept on the poor man’s chest. The lamb was like a daughter to the poor man.”

“Mason, we see two things in the passages you read.  God made animals for food, but animals can also be our best friends.  The people in that part of the world sometimes kept sheep for pets.  In that country, dogs weren’t people-friendly but were wild and ran in packs,  so they didn’t keep them for pets.  But nowadays, dogs are domesticated, and we love them.  There are other verses where God says which animals we can eat and which ones aren’t good for us.   We also read that animals pulled plows for farmers and chariots for people to ride in.  Animals are God’s gift to us.  He’s blessed you with Chief, and Tiger, too, and it’s your job to take good care of them.  It’s good practice for taking care of your family someday.  Our pets can teach us a lot about how real love acts.”

Mason nodded, then looked down at Chief, who was looking up at him in concern.  He stroked his big head.  Tiger had curled up on the couch, utterly disinterested in the conversation.  “Chief’s my best friend, Nannygranne.  So will he be in Heaven, too?”

Nannygranne smiled and ruffled Mason’s hair.  “Mason, you are Chief’s best friend.  We need to see how God cares about the animals.  How about we take a walk?  Then when we get back, it’ll be lunchtime, and we can talk some more.”

Mason grinned.  “OK.  That’ll be fun.  Can we take Chief to the park?”

“I’d like that,”  Nannygranne responded.  Calling to the sleeping cat, Nannygranne said, “Tiger.  Would you want to go to the park?”  Tiger opened one eye in disgust at being disturbed.”  Laughing, Nannygranne said, “I don’t think Tiger’s going to need a leash.”   

Mason lead Chief out the gate with Nannygranne trailing.  After walking half a block, Tiger dashed past.   Humans mustn’t go about without a security detail.

1  Regarding unclean animals:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unclean_animal

Why Did God Give Us Emotions? Pt 3

A grandmother and granddaughter walking in a park.

After Maria and Nannygranne finished breakfast, Nannygranne grabbed her jacket against the morning chill, and they headed for the nearby park.  

Nannygranne said, “I still have to be intentional about my emotional health, Maria. These walks are one way I do that.  I also try to practice God’s way written in Philippians 4:8 to think on good things.1  Light always makes darkness disappear.  Darkness cannot exist where there is light.  So I try to aways turn on the light.2

Marie frowned. “Do you think I’ll ever learn to turn on my light when my moods try to swallow me up?”

Nannygranne assured her, “Yes. But at first I think you’ll feel all these new emotions very strongly until you get used to them and they don’t scare you so much.  Give it time and don’t feel alone.  We women have all sailed that ship on life’s oceans and can help out.  When the seas are rolling, you steer into the oncoming waves, whether from ahead or behind.  When the storm rages, you tie yourself to the boat and do all you know to do till it passes.  Then you adjust your sails and get back on course.  Sometimes the sea is sparkling, and the wind in your favor, and you sail right along, steering in the direction you want to go.  Then other times, the sea seems to sleep, glazing over, and the wind disappears.  Those are called the doldrums.  That’s when you have to paddle or start your engine.  Otherwise, you’ll stay in one spot and die.”

“Wow.  Then the ocean is your emotions?  You just have to ride it out?”

Nannygranne laughed and shook her head. “I guess I got carried away with my ocean illustration. I probably need to explain better.  The ocean is your life.  So many things in life aren’t in our control. However, we can choose our boat and our Captain.  Our emotions are a little like the weather.  We can’t always choose our emotions, but we can forecast them. But, unlike the weather, we can manage them.  For my ocean of life, I’m choosing the very best.  My boat is named Christianity, and my Captain is God.  The Bible is my compass; the Holy Spirit, my navigator.  Heaven is my North Star, and study and prayer my ship’s log.”  

Nannygranne sat on a park bench and patted the seat beside her. “You see, Maria, emotions are gauges, not guides— thermometers, not thermostats.  Our emotions report to us; they can’t be allowed to rule us.  We are moved by our emotions, not led by them.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”  

“I’m trying to.  Like the guy said in that movie, Fireproof, don’t just follow your heart because your heart can be deceived—but you gotta lead your heart.1  But you said there is more?”

“Exactly! And, yes, there is more.  Our emotions are a type of bridge between our soul and our body.  Sometimes the power behind our emotions travels from our spirit to our bodies.  Guilt can make us sick at our stomach.  Fear can make us tremble and our hearts race, even break into a sweat. That even happened to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was begging God to save the world a different way.  The Bible says His sweat was like drops of blood.”

 “I’d forgotten that,” Maria whispered. “Wow!  Jesus does know what it’s like for things to be intense.”

“That’s an understatement.  Jesus completely understands you when you feel the way you hate to feel.  And the Holy Spirit can help.  So please don’t take it too hard.  You can know for sure that God understands and is not disappointed in you.  He wants to help.  And sometimes He will just sit with you and help you cry, knowing it will pass.”

“Then what about the emotions animals feel?”

“Well, having emotions and understanding and managing them are two very different things.  Dogs’ emotions come from survival and social instincts.  Dog trainers caution us that dogs think like dogs and not as people think.  If they feel ‘guilty,’ it’s because they dread punishment, whether it’s from their master or the lead dog in their pack.  Does that make sense?”5

“I guess so.”  

“You and I can understand our emotions and also have the ability to manage them.  Like you said, ‘Don’t just follow your heart…you’ve gotta lead your heart.’  But dogs just feel.  They follow their hearts.  They can’t lead their hearts.”

Maria pondered for a moment.  Then: “Sometimes, I think dogs have better hearts than some humans.”

Nannygranne nodded. “Dogs are deeply social, but once abused or attacked, they don’t forget.  They aren’t able to love and forgive when their instinct is to run or fight. But God has given you and me this unique part of Him.  Agape love is a decision, not a reaction.  But we could learn a lot about loyalty from our dogs, that’s for sure.”   

Nannygranne’s mind went to so many broken families and abandoned and aborted children in the human race.  She prayed silently, “God of the Universe! How can You love us when we kill our own? We desecrate Your image in us, yet You still want us.  Glorious is Your love! Amazing is Your grace!”  

Jerking her thoughts from that shadowy path, she smiled and invited Maria to head for home.  Maria, matching her mood, joined her.

Nannygranne lifted her face to the sun. “The ocean of life is sparkling today, don’t you think?”  

Maria’s hair danced to the breeze, and her steps were light.  For now, her ocean was sparkling, and her sails billowed in the sun. But the next time clouds gathered and the waves crashed on her sea, Nannygranne prayed this blossoming young woman could trust her Captain a little more, and hold on tight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Phil 4:8 “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”

2Luke 11:36  “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

3  “…You’ve got to lead your life.” https://youtu.be/5TMivbLwJ6E

4  “…drops of blood.” Luke 22:44

” Where humans and dogs differ is in the development of the frontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is associated with higher-level reasoning – executive functions that control behavior and thoughts.” 
Read more at 
https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-think-like-humans

Why Did God Give Us Emotions? Pt 2

After a trip for ice cream, Nannygranne and Maria settled at the kitchen table to find out about God’s emotions.

“Nannygranne, I’m sorry I said I don’t believe you when you said God cried and stuff.”

“Oh, Honey, that didn’t worry me but thank you for your kindness.  I never mind someone being honest with me about their questions.  Questions are how we learn to find answers.  Now questions that don’t want answers, that’s different.  But I do not doubt that you really would like to understand why God gave us emotions and what we do with them when they make us so uncomfortable. Have you ever felt like you just didn’t want to feel anymore?”

Maria’s puzzled expression clarified her hesitant nod.  She couldn’t believe Nannygranne could ever feel as confused as she sometimes felt.

“Well, let’s think about emotions first.  In fact, let’s make a list.”  Nannygranne reached for her ever-present yellow tablet she kept with her Bible for recording thoughts and notes from studying.  “Help me think of some good and bad emotions. No,  let me rephrase that!  Let’s think of “Feel Good” emotions and  “Feel Bad” emotions.  Our feelings are as much a part of us as our hands and mouth.  But like we learn to handle our hands and mouth, we learn to manage our emotions, too. Eventually, they compiled a list.

Next, Nannygranne wanted to find where God may have experienced the same emotions.  “Okay, let’s start with the Feel Good emotions.  We know God is love so that we can write a verse next to that one.”

Maria began, “John 3:16!  For God so loved the world. But mostly I want to know if God understands the Feel Bad emotions.  I know that God wants us to feel good.  I just don’t understand why He lets us feel bad sometimes.”

“Oh, I see,” Nannygranne said slowly.  “If God loves us and wants our lives to be blessed, and He brings us joy and peace, then when we don’t feel those things, we worry that we’re doing something wrong.  Am I thinking along the right lines now?”

Maria lowered her eyes, blankly staring at the Bible in front of them.  “Yeah.  I guess that is what I wonder.  I wouldn’t say I like feeling the way I’ve felt today.  I just want to be happy, that’s all.”

Nannygranne stroked the girl’s hair. “Maria,  as a teenager, you’re just now taking your first steps into the whole world and all it holds.  When you were little, the adults around you protected you from the dark things as much as they could, but that was because you weren’t ready for those realities.  Just like there was a time when you couldn’t eat hard candy or grapes because you couldn’t swallow them well.  But now you’re able to reason and think and search and discuss.  Now you are ready to begin learning what is right and healthy in what our culture tries to feed you.  One of the false things culture is telling us is that if we aren’t happy that something is wrong and somebody else is to blame.  Can you think of a time when being happy would be just wrong?

Maria thought for a moment as she doodled on the yellow tablet corner.  Finally, she said, “I guess it would be wrong to be happy when someone is dying or suffering.”

“…or when people are doing evil things, or mistreating someone,” Nannygranne added.

Maria looked at Nannygranne with a sober expression, “I see what you mean about growing up and understanding that life isn’t all fun and games.  But was God ever unhappy like this?”

“Well, let’s see what we can find.”

Together they found and wrote down their discoveries.

Jesus was:

Lonely – Mark 6:1-6

Angry – Mark 11:15

Sad    – John 11:35

Afraid – Matt 26:42

Broken Hearted – Mk 10:14; Lk 19:41

Worried – Matt 26:63-44

Tempted – Heb 4:15

Felt Let Down – John 2:25

Hurt by his parents – Mark 3:21-35

Maria looked at Nannygranne in amazement. “I guess I owe you an ice cream tomorrow.  I hadn’t thought about Jesus having all those feelings.”

“Never forget, Maria, that Jesus said, ‘When you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’  They are just alike.  God has emotions, too.  We couldn’t be like Him without our emotions.  That fact that you feel things means that you see how things are in the world and decide what you think about them.  Your thoughts lead to your emotions, but there is more.”

“More?  I don’t know if I want to have more,” she groaned.  “ But I’ve got a question.”

Maria started to speak, then hesitated.

“Go ahead, Maria.  Did you want to say something?  Remember, I love to think with you,” Nannygranne assured her.

“But don’t animals have emotions, too?  Dogs wag their tails.  Granma says cows cry tears when their babies are taken to the sale.  If emotions prove we’re made in God’s image, then what do emotions mean to animals?”

Nannygranne smiled broadly, then looked deeply into Maria’s eyes.  “You are one sharp cookie.  Yes, it’s obvious animals have emotions, and we’ve both seen my dog act guilty.  So what’s the difference?”

“Exactly!” Maria admitted.

At that moment, the doorbell rang.  “Pizza!” Maria shouted.

Nannygranne grabbed cash from her purse before answering the door.

Returning to the kitchen, she opened the pizza and said,  “What do you say we both put a pin in that and come back to it tomorrow.  I don’t think we’ve got time to do our research before your mom comes.  I’ve got some ideas, but I want to do some studying tonight to see what we can discover.  Remember that God teaches us in two ways:  through scripture and also through nature.1  I think it’ll be interesting.”

Maria sniffed the pizza dramatically.  “I’ll get the drinks ready and queue up Heartland.”

“Pizza and binging Heartland. That sounds like my kind of evening.  Dibs on the recliner!”  Nannygranne laughed as she prepped their trays.

When Maria returned, Nannygranne asked, “Still don’t like the way you’re feeling?”

With a nod and a wry smile, Maria said, “Nah.  I’m good.  Guess the mood passed.  Thanks for showing me how to manage it, Nannygranne.”

“Anytime, Sweet Girl.  I feel like thanking God.  Would you give thanks for us?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 Rom 1:18-21  “..His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, because they are understood thorugh what has been made…”

Why Did God Give Us Emotions?

As she curled her early adolescent body into a ball on the couch, Maria’s sadness blanketed her like a shroud.  “I hate feeling this way,” she groaned.  “I feel like crying, but I don’t know why.  Why did God give us emotions, anyway!”  She wasn’t asking a question.  Instead, she was asking for comfort and relief.

“I never liked feeling that way, myself,” Nannygranne assured her, “but I sure remember it.  I remember the feelings were so strong, but I didn’t understand why and  I couldn’t seem to turn them off.  And I didn’t know what started them, really.”

“Yeah.  That’s how I feel.  I hate feeling this way!” she repeated.

“Well, Sweetie,  I guess it’s part of growing up.  When we were little, we knew we were sad when we had to leave a friend’s house.  We knew we were angry when that friend punched us, and we knew that we were happy when we got a quarter for the ice cream man on Saturday mornings.”  Nannygranne leaned back against the couch, settling into thoughtful quietness with Maria.

After a few minutes, she patted the girl and announced, “Well, I’m not going to take this lying down.  I’m going to get ice-cream.  Come on.  Let’s blow this joint!”

Maria slowly got up, grudgingly slipped on her flip-flops, and followed Nannygranne out the door.  Anything was better than this.

Pulling into the drive-in space, they chose their treats and settled back to wait.  Maria reached for the radio and turned to a Christian music station she knew Nannygranne enjoyed.  The silence seemed unbearable.

“Good idea, Maria,”  Nannygranne said.  “I learned a long time ago that God could use good music to speak to our hearts when we can’t hear anything else.  He loves music, you know.”

“How do you know?” Maria asked.

“He wants us to worship Him with singing.  It ranks right up there with praying, preaching, and communion.  In fact, they sang a song right after the first Lord’s Supper.”1

“I hadn’t thought of that.”  Maria was lost in thought when the ice-cream arrived.  “Thank you, Nannygranne.  You really know how to make me feel better.”

“Well, then, that was easy.”  Nannygranne spooned her favorite hot fudge sundae as she continued.  “You know, you asked a pretty deep question earlier when you asked, ‘Why did God give us emotions?’”

“Why did He?”

“Had you ever thought that when God made us in His Image that He made us emotional beings like Him?”  Nannygranne continued enjoying her ice-cream, not making eye contact with Maria, hoping she’d ask herself the question rather than give what she thought might be an expected answer.

“Not really.  I don’t think God knows what PMS is like, or what it feels like to be ashamed of yourself.  And He sure never had to cry.”  Maria’s cloudy expression showed that her mood hovered close despite Nannygranne’s efforts.

“Oh, I disagree, Sweet Girl.  In fact, I’m sure God did cry2, and I know Jesus felt a huge weight of shame for our guilt one time3.  And if God made us like Him, then laughter must be from Him, too.” 4

“God cried?  Jesus felt guilt?”  Maria now turned to face Nannygranne.  Then she gave a little snort of disdain and continued.  “I don’t believe that.  You’ll have to prove that to me before I’ll believe that.”

“You’re on,” the woman answered, smiling.  “As soon as we get home, let’s turn on some good music, get down the Bible, turn up the lights and let me show you a thing or two, Missy!”  Then tossing her empty ice-cream cup in the plastic bag serving as her wastebasket, Nannygranne started the car.  “Let’s order pizza tonight for supper.  We’re not going to want to cook tonight.”

Maria smiled and nodded.  “Pizza sounds good.  And if you can’t prove what you said, you owe me another ice-cream tomorrow!”

“It’s a deal!”  Nannyganne agreed.  Then giving Maria a high-five, she turned up the radio.  Just then, Lauren Daigle began singing, “You Say.”5

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1  Heb 4:15; Matt 26:30; Mk 14:26

2 Wept: John 11:35; Sobbed: Luke 19:41; Loud cries and tears:  Heb 5:7

3Matt 27:46; II Cor 5:21, “…He became sin for us…”; Heb 9:28;

4 Psa 65:12-13, Psa 126:2; Isa 55:12

5 “You Say” by Lauren Daigle https://youtu.be/oZvKJl1kK8g

            “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don’t belong, oh, You say I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh, I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe.”

 

“Emotions result from assessments made about the past, present, and future—and Christianity grounds its believers in a specific past, present, and future. Through the act of baptism, we are incorporated into the story of God healing a fractured world. We are adopted into the household of faith, meaning that Israel’s story has become our story. Thus, we no longer see the past, present, and future the same way as the world. We no longer need to embrace a narrative that says only the fittest will survive. We no longer need to see our happiness as tied to what gadgets and goods we possess. We no longer need to live in denial of the immense suffering and death that pervades human existence. We no longer need to look to the future with utter uncertainty, for we know that our story ends with fellowship with God and all the saints.”  –  Matthew Richard Schlimm, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

Source:  https://www.ctsnet.edu/at-this-point/emotions-faith-perplexing-relationship-feel-believe/