The garden was God’s original home for his human creation. All around Adam and Eve were trees with different kinds of fruit to eat of all colors—orange, yellow, green, red. In the air permeated the fragrance of the essence of plants, perpetually medicating the humans with unobtrusive, unseen healing powers day in and day out.
Then there were God’s other creations, given to Adam with the responsibility and the honor of naming every kind: whale, tiger, ant, rose, cinnamon.
God made our home first, and then He made us. Everything He created before Adam and Eve was for Adam and Eve to live abundantly. To accomplish this, God gave us dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1: 26).
He made provisions for our emotional and physical health that are still His gifts to us today. Essential oils with prayer, extracted from various leaves, have caused people to heal from debilitating back pain, migraines, and other ailments, even emotional pain like depression. Plants are imbued with a dynamic healing ability that humans cannot contrive.
Another gift that God gives us for emotional healing is animals. God brought one such gift into my life. My cat, Shyla, came to me through my drawing teacher. I had her during a time of prolonged distress and relational dysfunction. On some of those days, I would not have gotten out of bed had she not pestered me for food through her affectionate ploy of rubbing her face against mine. You may not believe me, but my kitty knew love; she both gave me love and received my love, which was very healing to me.
I buried Shyla last week. She wasn’t eating well, walking well, and she’d already had fluid taken out of her body. At first I followed the vet’s orders and gave her appetite stimulants, but when she wasn’t able to make it to the litter box (Shyla was a fastidiously clean cat), I felt torn. Should I try to keep her alive, but she remain immobile and in pain?
I prayed that Jesus would take her soon.
On Thursday night I went grocery shopping and when I came back, she wasn’t there to greet me like usual, so I set my bags down on the counter and found her lying listless on the kitchen floor. I quickly put my frozen food away to call the vet and go. But Shyla somehow came closer to me and then collapsed, so I knelt down to pet her and comfort her, realizing God was answering my prayer.
He had timed her passing so that I made it home to comfort her and say goodbye in the three-four minutes before she quit breathing. She is better off now, running and jumping and meowing with joy (she had lost her voice the last few weeks of her life). Even though I come home and she is not there anymore and I miss her, I am happy for her. She is free from all pain and all the limitations of an aging body.
God’s best and greatest gift of healing to us was the death and resurrection of His mighty and beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Life-changing healing of our souls begin with the forgiveness of our sins. Praise God that because of the obedience and love of Jesus, we can be forgiven and set free because he paid our penalty of sin. And one day, believers will live in paradise where there is no pain.
And I will get to see Shyla again.
“Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully. Don’t lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
Have you ever had a pet you were especially close to? How might God have been using that dear pet to speak to you?