Yesterday my daughter’s rabbit died. We discovered he had an eye infection, so Wendy and Susie took him off to the vets. The eye was quickly treated, but as Carrot was returned to his travel box Wendy noticed that his back legs were not working. An x-ray revealed a broken spine, crumbling as a result of osteoporosis.
They returned home with an empty carry case, and Susie has unpeeled another layer from the great mystery that is life…and death. Carrot was gone for good. There would be no more cuddles, no more baths. That was it…final…gone.
When the tears had subsided she was talking with Wendy about her wider fears of death, suddenly made more real. She confided that she was particularly worried about daddy, “because he’s older than you”. She talked about what happens after you die, her fears of not being with us and the people she loves, and Wendy gently talked about the Christian hope of life with Jesus.
All this made me very sad. A while ago I spoke at what was then our church about heaven and afterwards I was accused of having no Christian hope and assurance of salvation…maybe because I try to speak with a degree of humility that sometimes means I can’t bow to what Gregory Boyd calls the ‘idol of certainty’ the way some people expect.
It turns out that what they said has become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. I found I could not share the joy of Christian hope that Wendy was espousing. I was full of doubt. It’s not easy to admit that a small number of negative critical people in an otherwise lovely church have finally managed to extinguish something that all manner of life’s adversities had not managed to destroy.
I expect I’ll bounce back. I usually do.
I’m encouraged by the words of the prophet, speaking of the then still-to-come Jesus (at least, that’s the way I read it):
He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,
but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right.
Isaiah 42: 3 (Message)