Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Movement of God through Cherub for Junwoo

On Saturday morning when I awoke to let the dogs out I knew something was not right with Cherub (our dog of 13 and ½ years). She still wagged her tail and smiled at me as she always does, but her body seemed very old. I felt led to pray that the LORD would grant her dying grace. Greg and I left for a wedding leaving the kids with her because we did not want her alone only to receive a text as we were entering the neighborhood that she died. Aside from the fact that our family greatly grieves the sweetest dog on the face of the earth, GOD allowed us to see and observe HIS Sovereignty even in the birth and death of a beloved creature.

Cherub’s mom, Koda, was my dog before Greg and I got married. She never had pups, but when she was almost 11 years old, I told Greg that I thought she was pregnant. When we took her to the vet, he laughed at us until he gave her an exam and low and behold, Koda was pregnant for the first time with five pups. Cherub was the only brindle color of orange and white. The rest were all black like the mom. We kept her for Mikayla, who was only one month old because we believe little girls and boy need to grow up with a pup by their side.

Unknown to us at that time, the LORD had a plan. We have a precious little guy, Junwoo, living with us. He is our foreign exchange student from Korea. He is very smart and loves science. When he first arrived in our house, his favorite thing to do was follow Cherub everywhere she went. In fact, on his first morning in America he laid on the floor beside Cherub’s food bowl to watch her eat her food. The bond was quick. So quick that Cherub and Magi’ our other dog will even obey him to get in their kennels.

One day Junwoo, Grant and I were talking about God and science. Junwoo struggles with the concept of God. He knows science and logic. God can’t be seen and heard. God just simply is not logical. You can’t prove him with your eyes. Junwoo said, “I can’t believe in God until I see God.”

I responded by saying, “Can you see the wind out side?”

“Yes, I can see the leaves moving.” He replied.

“Yes, you see the leaves moving, but you can’t see the wind that moves them. It is the same with God. You can’t see Him, but you can see His movement. When you see the movement of God then you will believe in God.” Junwoo nodded his head in understanding.

Cherub’s death brought great grief to our home. We cried. We thanked God for her life and now we have an empty space in our home no longer filled with her presence. Junwoo joined us in our grief as we all openly shed tears, at times, quite loudly. After a couple of hours of great sadness, we chose to take the children to a pet store to celebrate life. We played with a very sweet white haired terrier. We did not go to buy a pet, but just to enjoy life and laugh as only a baby creature can give. We healed just a bit. God will weave His comfort through the process of time. But, moments before going to sleep Junwoo ran up to me in and asked, “Is Cherub in heaven?” My heart stopped. How do I explain to a little one that has not believed that heaven and hell are real places or even safe places that his beloved dog does not have a soul as man does? I responded by saying that God loves His creation.

I went to bed praying for God to use Cherub’s death to reveal Himself to Junwoo and unknown to me, my Greg prayed himself to sleep asking the same thing of God—feeling the movement of God among us as we went to sleep. As is his custom, Junwoo awoke with a happy disposition. He ran into the living room and said, “I dreamed about Cherub. I dreamt that Cherub and I were outside in the green grass. I had a ball and we were playing catch. It was a good dream.”

“I like it when I have wonderful dreams like that, too!” I answered.

As natural as breath, Grant and Junwoo started to talk of God. I opened my Bible and found the verse in Revelation 5:13 that says every creature in heaven, both on the earth, in the sea and in the sky will worship the LORD. I said, “Junwoo, last night you asked me a very good question. You asked if Cherub is in heaven. I wanted to share with you a Bible verse that comforts me.” I read the verse and then said, “The Bible tells us that God created man different than the animals. We have a soul that can choose between heaven and hell, but animals do not. I cannot tell you if Cherub is one of the animals that the Bible talks about in heaven, but I do know that God loves His creation and the creature. He loved Cherub. He created her. For us what matters is that each of us needs to know that is appointed for each man to be born and to die. Our belief in Jesus enables us to join Him in heaven for eternity.”

Junwoo replied, “I want to be in heaven with Cherub.”

“Junwoo, we choose heaven because of what God did for us through His Son Jesus. You and I, and all people need to understand that we are a sinners (someone who does bad things) and that GOD loves us. You can’t choose heaven because of Cherub. You have to know and understand that our sins keep us from being near God. Do you understand that God loves you? If you were the only person and sinned, God would still send Jesus to die on the cross for you. Jesus was sent by GOD to die for your sins, my sins, everyone’s sins. It is our acceptance and understanding that Jesus did for us that enables us to live forever in heaven. Do you understand?”


Our dialogue stopped for a moment as both boys started to share about what happened when Cherub died. I then said, “Junwoo, if you ever decide that you want to have Jesus as your Savior. Just tell us and we will share with you how to talk to him about it.”

“Yes, I want!” Junwoo replied.

“Are you saying you understand that you are a sinner in a need of a Savior and you want to know how to pray to God?”

“Yes, I want, now!” He spoke while his lip quivered some. The movement of God upon him very clear by his voice and manner with which he spoke—I could see and feel the awe of God.

Grant crawled on the floor near Junwoo as both boys sat for a moment stunned. Junwoo asked, “What do I do?”

I quietly explained. “Junwoo, just tell God that you believe in His Son. Tell Him you want Him as your Savior.” Junwoo waved his hands in front of him looking at me and Grant for clues. We bowed our heads and without thinking folded our hands. He copied our movement and repeated after me, “God, I believe you sent Jesus for me. Accept your gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”

Tears ran down my face unashamedly with great joy! “Junwoo, the Bible tells us that when you believe in the LORD Jesus you are saved. The Holy Spirit comes inside you and seals you. You belong to God now. It also says, that when one sinner believes in the LORD Jesus Christ all of heaven rejoices with a party to celebrate!”

Junwoo looked up at all of us and said, “Can you show me again how God created the heavens and the earth?” We opened our Bibles and read Genesis 1 again looking at the wonder of creation through new eyes—eyes that see with spiritual insight and not just the reasoning of man.

“Junwoo, God wants you to be the best scientist that you can be! He will show you great mysteries now that no one else will know or understand. He has great plans for you.” I have told this to my little Korean son several times before, but this is the first time that he understood what I meant.

The Sovereignty of GOD never ceases to amaze. He knew that we would have Junwoo with us and that Junwoo needed Cherub. Cherub’s breed typically lives only 10-12 years. She lived longer. She blessed our family with great fun and friendship as only a loyal dog can do. She never complained about who we are or judged us. She just loved us. We have learned many lessons about how we need to be with each other. The greatest gift she gave us though was Junwoo becoming our brother in Christ. Thank You GOD for using Cherub to help Junwoo see YOU! Thank You, that Junwoo had eyes to see and a heart that was willing to respond to Your gift of eternal life that can only be found through Your Son!

Feb. 6, 2010