To lose an animal will always be a trial for me. I have loved and cared for that animal. Planned their future, tried to make them happy. And then all those hours, thoughts, dreams, and dollars seem wasted.
Over the years of farming, I have lost many animals. Some were kids that never even got the chance to take their first breath. Mothers have died and taken their unborn with them. A favorite buck dies suddenly with no warning. A gentle calf was never given the chance to run and jump for joy. A beloved doeling, with all the potential in the world, dead. And the list goes on. And it hurts every time. I would ask myself if there had been anything more I could have done for them. Sometimes the answer was yes, and that is always when it hurt the most, because I felt like I had let them down somehow.
Had all the hours of stress and vet bills, trying desperately to bring that animal back from the brink of death, been wasted? Did their life have any purpose?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
As hard as it may be to see at the time, their lives, all of them, did have a purpose. It’s my responsibility to make the most use out of their deaths, because I know that God is working even that out for my good. I need to learn as much as possible from their deaths, so that maybe next time the outcome can be different. Sometimes that has meant improving management, or nutrition. Or keeping certain medications on hand and removing hazards from their pastures. Maybe the only thing I got out of a death is to just spend more time in the barn and never take their lives for granted.
Whatever it is, I know I can trust God that their lives were not wasted.