In the last three weeks we have had somewhat of an ordeal here with our cats. Now you may ask yourself, what in the world does a bunch of cats have to do with the title of this article, but hang in there with me.
We have three adult cats: two females and a male. One female, Snickers, is not really pretty but is as gentle and loving as you could ever want a pet to be. The other female, Cowboy (don’t ask J) is beautiful, but very unfriendly and aloof. The male, Vincent, is beautiful and friendly but a typical Tom Cat. We have had these adult cats for many, many years. Well, as happens every spring, our two momma cats each blessed us with a litter of kittens – 9 kittens in all. Normally, I am not really taken much with the kittens – they are for mousing and that is about all I want from them, but this year I was very drawn to them. The girls love every litter that is born.
Each morning I ventured out the back door to sit for awhile and nuzzle and talk to each of the little ones. Now the girls all love the kittens and so they had already named each and everyone and petted them and loved on them. They were used to being petted so they came right up to us everytime we went out the door. In other words, my heart was taken by all these precious little creatures: Butterscotch,Milo, Cuddles, Cooper, Grimmy (Grimalkin), Mary Palacious, Milky Way, Buckie and Chloe.
About 2 weeks ago I had to go to my doctor and when I returned home, the girls told me that the kittens were gone. All nine were no where to be found. Living on a farm there are many places that a bunch of kittens can go so we scoured every building and all the property but they were no where in site. The friendly momma cat, Snickers, was right there in her usual spot obviously not happy that her babies were gone. The kittens were still nursing and she was filled with milk. The other momma and the male cat were no where to be seen. So we surmised that she and he had taken the babies off somewhere.
By the next evening we were getting pretty concerned. There was still no sign of the babies or Cowboy or Vincent. Our prayers were constant. We began calling and calling and the girls decided to go into the neighborhood and ask some of the neighbors if they had seen them. Again, these were nursing kittens and we knew they wouldn’t last much longer without help. Finally the other cat came running from across the neighbor’s field. It was too dark for us to go out looking so we planned to get up early the next morning to go look in that area.
At about 6:00 the next morning, we all loaded up in the van with a cage, Snickers, water and food and set out across the field to look for the babies – praying the whole time. It didn’t take but a couple of minutes to find them. They were deep in some heavy brush on the far side of the field. They slowly came to the girls who had climbed their way into the briars and thicket. As the girls began to count we found 6 babies – three were still missing. The kittens drank from the water for a full fifteen minutes. We got them in the cage and got them back home. Snickers nursed them for an hour and then they ate food. We were so thankful but still concerned about the other three. But we had to leave them to the Lord because they were not in the area where we found the others.
We wanted to get rid of the mother who had led them off butPaulsaid not to because she would know where the babies were and hopefully she could care for just the three and then lead them back home. It was 2 days later before she did just that. The last three were home and we were so happy and thankful. This lasted for about 5 days. Then one morning as I went out to check on them, they were all gone again. But this time my heart was different. I was neither in panic nor fear. There was a peace about the entire thing.
I sat down on the step and began to pray for them. Our Lord loves each little creature and as He says in His Word, He watches out for them and knows everything that happens to them. As I sat there with Snickers rubbing all over my legs, again filled with milk and wanting her babies, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. It is so incredibly amazing how quickly, we as humans, rush toward wickedness. Just as the kittens had rushed off with this cat who was leading them to a place of danger and possibly death.
The first time it is out of ignorance, really placing trust in the wrong place, but the second time it is from foolishness. I remember an old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The immaturity of the kittens caused me great concern because I knew they were not ready to be left to their own devices to survive. We had to make every effort as good stewards of what God has given us to bring them back until they could grow healthy and be able to fend for themselves. But the second time, it was by choice of will. They were not led astray, they went willingly. You might be saying that I have placed too much importance on a bunch of cats running off, but this is how the Lord shows me things. He uses simple things to teach me. I am thankful that He does.
Our modern society has created a lust and hunger for adventure, excitement and even a desire to tempt death. Movies, television, modern novels, sports events, theme parks and I dare-say church services (all hype and pep-rallies) have caused such a false need for the adrenaline rush that contentedness and a simple life have been thrown out as wasteful and lazy. Recently in a conversation with someone about contentedness, the person, one who has been a church-going Christian since childhood, commented that they felt that God didn’t really mean for us to be content with our lives because that would be completely non-progressive and unambitious and God wants us to “on the move”. The fruit of this person’s life is full evidence of the damage that being “on the move” has caused them and their family.
Why is it better to be comfortable with the world’s ways as a Christian? Shouldn’t we shudder at the things the world enjoys? Shouldn’t we be uncomfortable around the things that are pleasing to the sinful flesh? Shouldn’t we abhor the works of the devil and shun those things that compromise our Christian walk? Why do so many in the church feel that our “freedom in Christ” is freedom to pursue every carnal lust that they can come up with? This past Sunday our family enjoyed a tape by a pastor friend inVirginia, called “Do You Bear the Evidence”. It was so encouraging and uplifting, but I had to ask myself, in what ways do I know bear the evidence of a changed life. If I was a monkey and I changed into a human but I still ate bananas at every meal and hung in the trees all day, wouldn’t it be clear that I was no different really. Jesus ate with the sinners and fellowshipped with the unbelievers, yes, but did he partake in their sin so that they would be happy to fellowship with Him. NO! NO! NO! They desired His company because He offered them something that all their drinking, carousing, gambling, whoring did not fulfill. He did not participate in it – He gave them a clear option!!! And they LOVED HIM FOR IT!!! It was the corrupt church that didn’t love Him.
Our kittens are at home today – happy, full-tummies, ready to be petted and rubbed and loved on, cool water to refresh them. They will grow stronger and stronger and thrive. But one day each one will make a decision to stay or go. They will choose what they want more. And there will be little we can do about it. But we hope that through our love and care they will chose to stay and be part of the home we have for them. Some will leave and find new homes, some will die on the road or in the woods or in a fight with other animals and we will never know what has happened to them. But we will love them and pray that God’s hand will protect them, even if they chose the path that leads to their utter destruction. But when they are grown and mature we will not go after them.
There is a great harvest of the lost and dying in this world. It is our duty, desire and calling to reach out to them and succor them and compel them to come into the Kingdom. We will go into the briars and brambles to bring them out and show them the way home. We will feed them, clothe them and give them drink. We will sacrifice time, money, energy and even our lives if necessary to bring them the precious love of a Risen Savior.
But we will not participate in their sin so that they will feel comfortable enough to join us in the Kingdom.
As for our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we will do all the Lord leads us to do to strengthen them, to nourish them, to encourage them, to uplift them and to help them along their way. But we will not condone efforts to make fleshly desires appetizing to the church. We will not lesson our efforts to walk uprightly before God and man so that they will want to be our buddy. We will not compromise the Word of God because He “wasn’t specific” on certain things. A child of God knows His Father’s heart and should have discernment about what is pleasing to Him and what is not.
Lastly, let me say, there has never been a moment in time when we felt that we had it “all together”. There are so many areas where we are lacking and falling short in our walk with the Lord. The sadness and sorrow that we have everytime we kneel to pray over the things we have not yet gained victory is almost unbearable at times. HOWEVER, we persevere. The Grace of God and theMercy of God are there for the Born-again believer as well as the unsaved one, but does that give us the freedom to do whatever we feel like because of it. No, I think His desire is for us to daily take up our cross and follow Him; To seek to show His love and victory to others so that they will desire to follow Him as well; To walk circumspectly –
“Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.” Ephesians 5: 11