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  • Elizabeth Marie

An Unnecessary Death

Living on a farm as I do, I get to enjoy walking my dog, Gemma, in the glorious outdoors of God’s creation, and I am grateful. I can walk to the nearby Richmond hills from the farm if I choose to, with free-range cattle and beautiful views on the way.

The farm is run down with far too much gorse, but it is still beautiful and a blessing. I love God’s creatures; each one seems to have its own unique personality. I love how the paradise ducks squawk loudly at my presence to warn others, how quail in their multitudes run on the ground and then fly out of harm's way, even the babies, unlike the pukeko chicks, which are far too easy prey for a hunting dog.

I absolutely love my dog. She is my daily companion, and I love her unusual run as her legs almost look like she is dancing at times. Her quirk as she doesn’t like to eat her biscuits in the kennel but outside, alfresco. Her absolute delight every time I return home or even just when I get up in the morning.

However, a few mornings ago, I was not at all happy with her. The Lord had been speaking to me about praying in the Spirit, and so walking on the farm first thing is the perfect time to pray.

This morning I walked along and saw not one but two fantails, the birds the Lord seems to bring encouragement through when I need it, dancing and flitting about near our cattle yards. Subsequently, I forgot this moment as I saw a turkey on the side of the hill. Immediately, as I saw Gemma chase it, I told her to leave it, but she ignored me. The turkey flew away to my relief but then flew back, and Gemma got her jaws into it. The poor turkey was on its back, and I picked it up. It was crying like a baby. I turned it over on its feet, and it ran down and hid under a bush by the creek. I felt heartbroken. I knew this bird would not live. I went to pick it up, and it ran away, its wings flapping, beautiful but distressed. As was I. Now the dog obeyed me, but too late. I chose to put the bird out of its misery rather than let it die a slow, painful death. But my heart was so grieved. It was so beautiful in life, but death is ugly. I know that death is part of this life, but that God is about life, and He comes to bring us abundant life. Through Jesus’s sacrifice, death has lost its sting, and we can know eternal life.

I learned to hunt a couple of years ago, a way of getting food and spending time in the outdoors, but although I eat meat, it’s still not really my thing. And some animals are pests and damage the environment. But in my mind, they are all unique and quite amazing. As are we humans. God has made us all one of a kind, and we will know new life in eternity through what Jesus did for us. I hope, too, there will be animals and birds in heaven to bring us joy and delight, along with the wonder of always being in the presence of God.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

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