The great Spanish Saint Theresa of Avila once made this observation that when we place our trust in Jesus, "The pay starts in this life." It's true even in the really hard and sad things. This past Saturday was a really hard day for my family. Our dog Ellie Mae had lived a full life of 13 years, and now all of the muscle mass in her hind legs were gone and her hips had given out. Our dear vet simply said, "When the wheels go out on a dog, that's pretty much the end of their life." Suddenly as we watched her nobly try to make her way through each day, we knew we had to make the hard decision to end her suffering. I want to protect the specifics of my family's privacy but I can share with you my own private pain of seeing their tears.But you know what? The pay still does start in this life even when you're going through the dark valleys. We were able to experience the dear closeness of God in the middle of the sadness. Even in the presence of tears I watched our kids go to God's word for hope, pour out their hearts to God in prayer, and comfort each other better than I could comfort them. To top it all off we saw God answer every one of our prayers about the way we wished to honor our loved pet as her life ended. I gotta tell you it's weird not waking up with Ellie Mae at my feet today, sitting with me in front of the fire as I read God's word. But our sadness is filled with the comfort of God which is just a foretaste of the final comfort my kids were reading about on Saturday where it says in Revelation 21: 4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."