Over the past 24 hours, I have received message after message about Ivan, and most of them seemed to contain some reference to the "rainbow bridge" or a promise that I will see him again on the other side. As comforting as that thought may be, I try not to pin my hopes to fluffy stories invented to console greiving pet-parents. I need something with a bit more truth to it. So, the question of whether I will see my beloved Ivan (and all the pets that have come before him, and all the ones that will come after) is a very difficult one for me. The way I look at it is this:
In Matthew, Jesus talks about God's provision for birds. Psalm 104 talks about God providing for all his creation. And in Deuteronomy, when God decrees a day of rest for his people, He requires that rest is also provided to their animals. So, clearly, God cares for the animals He has created, as well as the people. He even makes a covenant with them after the flood.
But do we know that they will be in heaven?
We know that there will be animals in heaven surely. Horses are mentioned specifically. In Revelation, it is said that "every creature" will give praise to God on the day when the Scroll of the Lamb is opened, so we know that our dogs (and bunnies and cats and any other creature you can think of) are capable of praise to the God Most High, and it would seem that they are also cognizant of his presence and His love. Even when Isaiah speaks of the creation of a new earth, wolves, lambs and lions are all included. So, clearly, we will see animals in heaven.
I would like to think that one day I will see my sweet little boy again. I would like to believe that he will come running to greet me as I pass through the gates. I would like to know that even now he is running, free of disease and pain, free of worry and sorrow, joyously celebrating the Love of our Creator. But I don't know. Because I can't find anything biblical that specifically mentions whether the animals we see in Heaven will be the eternal versions of the ones we see here, or they are newly created for that place.
I would love to hear your thoughts.