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Why do fools fall in love? February 15, 2017

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.” Cecil Francis Alexander

No matter your age, health, gender or political leanings; you have to admit there are few things which will elicit an “ahhh,” (be it audible if you are a ‘heart on your sleeve’ emoter – or internal if you are a committed curmudgeon) more certainly than sweet little puppy eyes staring up at you from a soft, furry face.

Why is that?

Animals, be they wild, farm or domesticated, are not just adorable screensavers.

In real life, animals bring work.

Ask Adam, his first job in the garden was to name them all.

In my imaginative and decidedly free-associating childhood, a favorite little mind play featured Adam, poised in the foreground of an outrageously spacious and idyllic green meadow, lovingly receiving each of God’s animals into his presence. After inspecting each creature, Adam would judiciously pronounce the chosen name as an angelic scribe would record the name for posterity. (hey, remember I’m 6)? Admittedly, this mind play slowed at the ocean’s edge as I fashioned the first scuba for Adam as he sojourned on his quest beneath the sea… but you get the idea.

My mind play would wane as Adam, sweat glinting off his forehead while surveying the infinite line of creatures, began to lag, hoping for the end of the long work day and the wonderful walk with God at the cool of the evening.

And let’s not even bring up the subject of Noah.

Work, right? Animals, right? They go together.

So I ask the question again.

Why do fools fall in love?

Why did God give us animals? Genesis tells us the facts.

Let me pause here for a brief disclaimer regarding my interpretation of scripture. I believe the Word is God breathed, infallible, alive, precious and Holy. However, the paucity of details in the Genesis story brings me forehead wrinkles to this day. The relator in me has spent some time debating the hows and whys of what isn’t told in the story. Possibly, a good seminary degree could smooth many of the wrinkles, but I digress.

 

So, the answer to most any question in the Bible can be answered in one word. Love.

 

God gave us animals because of love.

He knew at some time in our fallen future, allergies and PETA notwithstanding, we would maybe like a steak sandwich to go with our French fries.

God does not want us to go hungry.

But the steer would have to be fed and cared for until such a time as they could be, well…prepared to fulfill their ultimate destiny. Which, by the way is not to be a steak sandwich, but to be a blessing of God’s love.

As the ecosystem and the food chain in our world can be explained to some extent, in light of the miraculous creation story and our meager understanding of the details, a firm argument can be made. God meant animals for His children.

The perfect plan of God is not knowable except for what He tells us.

God sees as the sparrow falls. God cares.

All good.

Back to the mind play, Adam named all the animals (finally) and he was glad. Yet, he did not have a mate; he did not even know what a mate was. The animals felt very friendly toward Adam, since he named them; and were worried he would feel left out during the day, so they started playing games with Adam and kept him company while he tended the garden.

In my little 6-year-old mind play, this holy connection between Adam and the animals survived the dark day of the fall.

 

As Adam and Eve moved toward the east; some new friends followed them into the harsh and unknown environment, walking alongside our fallen progenitors, making the days a little less sad. Eve helped Adam and the playful little puppy and kitten helped them both survive the long and fearsome nights.

It’s not scripture, it’s a bit fanciful (Ok, very fanciful). Yet there are multitude of examples of  the connection between human and animal which add a dimension to our world beyond the ecosystem and the food chain.

You see this connection everywhere. You find the wonderful stories of animal-human companionship in literature and film. Even the strictest parent will relent the kibosh on movie time if the movie features animals. It’s been told some churches have even come close to splitting over the question of whether all dogs go to heaven.

We do have our problems here on earth. It is sometimes a treacherous place. Friends betray, children grow and move away. Jobs can be hard to come by and the nightly news brings little hope. You may recognize a fellow traveler, walking along the side of the road with a world of trouble on her shoulders, yet she is not walking alone. At the end of a lead, in a front pack or a stroller, you see a faithful companion tracing her steps. You understand on some level, this soul might be lost to despair, but for the fact she has found solace and acceptance in the soft eyes of a furry friend.

Why do fools fall in love?

It’s a conversation I have had a time or two, in my hour of meditation.

The Father is infinite in His love and He never tires of blessing us. He uses sunset, sunrise and sacred rain….and often the blessing of His love shines up from sweet little *puppy eyes.

*Happy to say that you can insert cat, ferret, gerbil, parrot, horse, pig, cow or dolphin, in lieu of, or in addition to puppy.

Submitted by Sunny Vigos. Sunny is passionate for all things animals (among many other passions). She is the director of Counseling at GSM Beaverton and her husband, Randy, serves on the International Board of Directors.

Bethany Stroup

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