On my first trip outside to put the clothing in the dryer I noted a playful kitten being chased by the neighbor boy. I thought, "Oh they have a new kitten." By the time the process of "ironing" was done, my neighbors had left but the playful kitten was still romping about in their yard but now totally unsupervised, so I stopped to watch as the mischievous little creature started to crawl up into the undercarriage of the truck in the neighbors driveway. If you don't foresee the problem here, let me just give you two words, Kitty Slaughter and no, I do not mean some cool kitty hair band from the 80's, I am speaking of the sure demise of one of God's cutest little creatures. When I was growing up I had a cat who was one of the lucky few who got out of such a situation only losing half her tail, most kitties are not so lucky.
Look at this face, what would you have done?
Yeah, me too. And she made it really easy. I called her and she came bounding right over. I went in the garage and tried to find a safe place for her. I had the towel hamper out in the garage, newly emptied, and placed her in the deep bottom. She was not a happy camper. I was torn. I knew should couldn't stay in it, it wouldn't close. I looked about and she fussed so I took her back outside, not knowing who she belonged to. As soon as I set her down, she headed straight back to the truck, clearly no wiser for the 4 minutes she spent in time out. I called her back, picked her up and put her back in the hamper. Then I found our old cat carrier which was full of photographs.
I emptied it out and placed her safely inside with a towel. Cute and cuddly to crazed and cranky in 4 seconds or less. You know what? She was loud, grumping and complaining at the top of her lungs. I got back to my laundry business and getting my kids ready for school, making a couple of quick "Found Kitten" signs and posting them on the street. The young ones took a look at the grumping kitten before we headed off to drop off. I went to give her a little liquid to drink but she was so out raged meowing at the top of her lungs, gripping the cage door with her paws and claws that for fear of my fingers I thought better of supplying her with refreshment.
I sent hubby a quick text letting him know about our temporary ward and could hear the "woe is me, oh my" in his response, despite the fact he said I had done the right thing in rescuing her.
When I got back from dropping off the young ones I peeked in at our little prisoner and thought she had escaped, the carrier now appeared empty and was completely silent. I shook the carrier but got no reply. Finally I opened the door and stuck my hand in the towel where I found that a docile little creature had replaced the formerly ferocious feline. So I went in the house and refilled her refreshment, gave it to her and went about my day.
When I got to work I assured Neal my intention was to send her packing. When I brought the little kids home they took Jake to have a look. I didn't let them open her cage and told them she would be moving on, though my misconception about a local pet hospital being willing to take her had been corrected. And the only "no-kill shelter" in the area was quite a bit out of our way, and hours were too late by the end of the day as it was. I shuffled the kids inside and got them to their homework, still confident we would find a better place for the little kitten.
So when Neal got home I asked him if he wanted to have a look. Next thing I knew, this had happened.... in my living room mind you... not my garage.
And by the end of the night she had found a favorite place to settle herself...
All throughout the next couple of days it made me think about how it is for us when the Lord has to reign us in. When we in our foolishness or out of our sinful nature find ourselves on a road that leads to danger and destruction, and quietly the Lord calls us back. I wish I could say I always come as quickly and easily as the kitten came to me, but I don't. But very much like the kitten when I put her in a safe place, as she was fighting back and resisting... how often I find myself in a very similar way resisting and striking against the discipline of the Lord. Does it matter that He does it for my safety and good? I wish I could say I am always quick to see it His way.
Sometimes like the kitten I don't fully understand what's going on and cannot see the dangers lurking like the Lord does, and so in His love and care for me He gives more concern to my benefit than my comfort. The Lord in his love, knowing what will come from the path I am on, may lay the obstacles that will divert my way. I may never know exactly what trials loomed ahead, because in His goodness, the Lord blocked the road. How often do we pray for God to open and close the doors before us as He wills, and then rail against them when they aren't what we had hoped for ourselves. My benefit, not my comfort.
But here was the beautiful metaphor that struck me. When we finally surrender, we find ourselves at home in the arms of the Lord. As it is for the first time, when we come to the surrender of salvation, like the kitty being given a new home, and a new family and name through adoption, or whether it be again when we have strayed from the Lord's will for us, we find the peace that comes from resting in the arms of the Father, safe, secure, at peace - remembering what it is to be loved and to belong.
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find [a] refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.