GOD’S ANIMALS (AND, YEAH, PEOPLE, TOO)

I’M BACK! It seems as though my writing is “off the chain” (sorry, chained dogs), and I am questioning just about everything under the sun (I know the Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun,”[Ecclesiastes 1:9] but really….now?). And with that sentiment comes my need to question, “Where do animals fit under the Sun of the Creator?” The reason I ask this is because the Bible is chock-full of stories about animals, parables about animals, verses about animals, all seemingly pointing to that we, as humans, have so much to learn from animals (so much for animals to learn from us, too) if we would only pay attention to what they are saying instead of trying to silence them.

This all got brought into my lap when I was watching a video about God’s Creation of animals at the website:

https://www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/mediaitems/VODBibleCreation/pub-jwbcov_201605_7_VIDEO

In fact, there are many videos at this website that are about the Majesty of God when it comes to The Creation of God’s Animals and how man has tried to copy such majesty in the human mode, only never quite able to capture exactly the miracles inherent in God’s Animals. It is a testament to God’s Excellent and Creative Toolbox that animals were designed in the most varied and imaginative (or un-) ways. I hope I’m not trying to knock God’s Creativity of humans, but it stands to reason the creation of man and woman just can’t hold a candle to what God was able to do when he made animals so colorful, so different, so unique. I am talking about form here and not substance, I hope you know. A man and a woman have parts, and those external parts, for the most part (haha), are “paint by numbers.” But, with animals, God toyed around with fur, feathers, fins, beaks, wings, antennae, antlers, paws, hooves, pouches, four legs rather than two, trunks, long necks, long noses (I know all about that one), short ears, long ears, etc. I call that some serious variety, and I don’t believe humans can make the same claim as far as that kind of God Originality.

I bring all of this up because I am an animal welfare advocate and I, unfortunately or fortunately, have been educated much in the misuse and abuse of animals by man. I don’t want to believe that God approves of this, and I don’t believe for a second that God does. I promise not to go into too much detail as far as the correlation of COVID with human-animal interaction, but I will tell you this: I set up a Google Alert to catch articles and stories about the relationship between animals and COVID. In case you don’t know, when you do a Google Alert, you can type in any word or words so that when Google finds those words, the article or story arrives in your Gmail account. I set it up with words like, “COVID+meat,” “COVID+animals,” “COVID+animals+Lafayette.” And I am not kidding. I get a whole truck load of emails with these words, because “the word” seems to be most definitely out that there IS a correlation between COVID and animals/meat, and we need to be paying attention to that. Our very lives and our very planet may hang in the balance if we choose to ignore this coupling.

People who know me well know I live by this verse: “You (revere) care about both people and animals, O Lord.” (Psalm 36:6[b]). I try to live by this every day of my life, and I always seem to fall short because I tend to be more “revering” of animals than people, but this is not everyday but simply most days. I live by this verse because I believe it is The Truth, at least The Truth that the Spirit from God brought down to me like a dove (and I do love that it was an animal that was brought down to me). This is about having love and compassion for BOTH people and animals. And God knows I have said this over and over again, some of who have heard it, some who have ignored it: “We, of Holy Spirit, of God, of Jesus, must ‘walk and talk’ love and compassion for All God’s Creatures. And, yes, not JUST people and not JUST animals but BOTH!” You would think I would be tired by now of saving this over and over again, but I dare think I will never tire from it nor would I want to tire from it.

I listen when animals talk to me, and I listen when people talk to me. I look in animals’ eyes to see my soul, and I look in people’s eyes to see my soul. I talk to animals because I want to know all about them, and I talk to people because I want to know all about them. It really IS the “walk and talk” that I am walking and talking about here. I call myself a man of God (a child of God, on even my best days) and, as a man (or child) of God, I want the whole experience of what God intends for me. I don’t want to just hang out with God’s People and I don’t want to just hang out with God’s Animals; I want to hang out with BOTH. God’s People sometimes don’t want to hang out with me, but I’d be hard-pressed to find an animal that didn’t want to hang out with me or me with him or her. I guess I’m just built that way and maybe animals are built that way, too, because I think animals want to know all about us. I think they want us to learn from them because God has allowed them to teach us so much if we would just sit down and talk to them, listen to them, spend time with them…the same exact things we want to do with people.

“He prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Psalm 23:5). I guess I don’t mind that one bit, but I also want that table prepared before me where all people and all animals can join me and Jesus, too, and we can all, of course, eat a vegan meal!

I seek to understand AND to be understood (sorry, I wish it were one or the other but I instinctively know it is BOTH!).

Timothy J. Verret

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