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My grand dog is growing older. Darby, an eight-year-old Doberman Pincer, belongs to our daughter and son-in-law. Sometimes our canine buddy is lazy and sometimes he barks at the wrong time. He growls if the other dogs go out the door before he does. As the alpha male, this red giant considers himself king of the household—until his human master comes home.

In spite of Darby’s faults, a person can’t help loving this 90-pound bundle of muscle and fur. He smiles when we walk through the door. (Didn’t know dogs could smile, did you?) He lopes through the backyard with an easy gait. At least until recently.

This week we learned that our favorite red Doberman may be crossing the rainbow bridge sooner than we thought. He has severe arthritis or bone cancer.

That started me thinking about losing what means the most to us. Why do we allow our canine and feline friends to wrap their paws around our hearts? And why is it so hard to let them go? In fact, why is it so hard to cope with change of any sort?

For many, it’s the actual fear of letting go. We get used to life as it is, problems included. It’s what we’re used to. And when we have to adjust to another normal, it can be scary. Change is unpredictable. Change sometimes means we can never go back to the way things were. It can mean the end of an era. And that’s sad.

On the heels of the school shooting in Tennessee this week comes change for at least six families. Their cherished loved one’s place at the table will be vacant. An empty bed is there for them to see every time they pass the door. The clothes closet—mute reminder that someone they loved once wore those garments.

Making sense of all this leaves us troubled, insecure. However, as we work through changes in our lives, there is one positive thought that remains. The prophet Isaiah penned it this way: “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace…”

If we knew the children who died a violent death at the school in Tennessee were escaping future upheaval in their growing-up years, would we bring them back? This is not to minimize the loss suffered by their families. However, in view of the turmoil brewing around the world, these three children and three adults may have escaped physical illness, hunger, war, and other threats to their wellbeing.

If they knew the Lord Jesus Christ before their lives were snuffed out, they now enjoy uninterrupted peace in heaven…possibly connecting with loved ones who have been there waiting for them.

Does that mean we look forward to change? Probably not. But in coping with life’s sudden adjustments, we can know that God gave us consolation. Those we love, whether people or pets, won’t suffer any more.

Your turn. What helps you deal with sudden change? Tell us about it below.


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