The word "animals" is such a broad term. It brings a variety of images to one's mind. To those who fear some sort of animal, it brings immediate apprehension. To those who make a living selling livestock, it brings a sense of security and worry at the same time; security in that they produce income, and worry due to the constant chance of disease and the fluctuation of the market. If one lives in a jungle village, animals are both food, and foe. But to most Americans, "animal" means companionship. Americans spend more money on pets than most of the families of the world have for survival. Americans are truly a rich people.That being said, I also believe that a family's pet is of a value for many reasons. Children learn to make their pet's needs a priority, taking the time to feed, walk, groom, and play with them. Responsibility is ofter first taught this way.
Children are not the only ones who enjoy the companionship of a pet. The older I get, and believe me, I am getting old, the more joy I get from a faithful friend. Who else meets me at the door with great excitement and love. Regardless of what kind of day I have, being greeted with love always makes it better. We recently lost our friend, and my wife was devastated. Angel, our miniature poodle that slept on a pillow above my wife's head, passed away. She had been unhealthy for several years, and yet when her death came, we found out we weren't nearly as ready as we had thought. Fortunately we still have Buddy and Pippy, but Angel was special. We will miss her.
Animals have a special place in the heart of God as well. If He wasn't creating a special creature to swallow a rebellious prophet, He was using a donkey to talk his master out of cursing his own people for profit. Noah was instructed to take two of every kind of animal on the ark, and even had him take seven pairs of those used in sacrifices. This sounds contradictory, but when one thinks of the honor of dying for God, it is perhaps the ultimate in one's existence. We need only to think of Jesus, God's Son. The disciples were also willing, and to them, it was a privilege. We have no doubt that God loved Jesus, or that He loved His disciples, and yet we look back at animal sacrifice as barbaric. Most of humanity sees "animal sacrifice" as a good thing when devouring the Thanksgiving main course! Vegetarians excluded, of course. Apparently they are not aware that the Creator of the Universe ate the Passover Lamb.
If God cares for every sparrow that falls to the ground, Jesus said that He certainly cared for human beings more. Remember, birds and fish were created on day five, and land animals were created on day six. Isn't it ironic that Man was also created on day six? No Darwin, this does not prove evolution. Quite the contrary, it shows us (if we will only trust His Word) that dinosaurs, monkeys, and man were all created the same day. Fossil footprints of both man and dinosaur in the same stone clearly prove that both lived at the same time. Go to www.AnswersInGenesis.com for ample evidence that the Bible is true.
God not only loves animals, His Son used animals to describe Himself. In His book (Revelation 5:5,6), He reveals that He is the Lamb of God, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah. John the Baptist call Him the Lamb Who takes away the sins of the world in John 1:29,36. The Holy Spirit is represented as a Dove at the baptism of Jesus in John 1:32. If a man was writing the Bible, he would probably not use timid animals such as a lamb or a dove to describe Almighty God. This is just one more proof that God inspired the writing of His book.
Yes, we will miss Angel, but in our hearts, we know that she is with her creator, just as we will be one day. Notice we know we will be with Him. My favorite Bible verse is I John 3:2, which says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Psalm 17:15 says, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness." We trust in Christ. We believe He told the truth. We know the future, because we know the One Who holds the future: the Lord Jesus Christ!