Can our feline friends have something to teach us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
If you’re a reader of my blog, there are facts about me you might have noticed. One you might have known is that my wife and I recently moved to Atlanta where I could assist my father-in-law, Michael Licona, with his ministry. The second is that we are cat owners. Our kitty is a white ball of fur named Shiro, the Japanese word for white.
We moved on Wednesday and the Tuesday night before, we cleared all the furniture out of our old house. We spent the night next door with my parents. We did, aside from our little Shiro since my parents have two cats already and Shiro up there would have been a recipe for chaos. Shiro stayed at the old house on Tuesday night. We stopped by to feed him on our way home from going out to eat of course.
When we went down the next morning, and we had been eager to check on him, he really wanted nothing to do with us. It took awhile to even get him to eat anything, but he looked at us entirely with distrust. From a cat’s perspective, it’s understandable. He had just had his world turned upside down. Unfortunately, to get him in his kitty carrier, we essentially had to trap him in a room and I had to just grab him and he had to be put inside it, and of course, he never likes that.
We had given him something from the vet meant to calm him down and we were pleased that he did not whine as much as we thought he would on the trip, but at the same time, I wondered if he had a defeatist attitude. Had he resigned himself to a negative fate? After all, we had rescued Shiro at an apartment complex where his old owners had abandoned him. What if he had thought that was happening again?
All the while I kept wanting to explain to him that he would like where he was going. We were doing this to him because we love him and we wanted to have him with us on our journey. We got him here and I had Allie go to a master bathroom connected with the master bedroom and just stay with him. When we got more furniture in the bedroom, we were able to let him out and let him stay in those two rooms.
He ran and hid under the dresser.
The next few days were concerning for us. It was like we couldn’t get Shiro to eat anything. He stayed hidden all day long. We talked to our vet back home and several friends who are cat owners who assured us that this was normal behavior. It was really hard on us that we did all this for Shiro because we wanted to have him with us everywhere and yet he hid and treated us like threats.
Already now, it looks like things are back to normal. As I sit here and write this, it is almost time to feed him and he is doing his best to make sure that I know that. I regularly hear him whining. He has a new cat tree now courtesy of my mother-in-law. He still hasn’t really explored it yet, but give it time. He sometimes still wakes us up at night, but he’s just getting used to the timing.
So what does this have to do with anything?
The difference between a human being and a cat is quite large. What difference is even larger? The difference between God and a human being. We’re talking with God about a being who knows everything, including all of the future, and He knows how everything will work out. We’re also talking about, if we’re Christians, a being who has done more than enough to demonstrate His love for us.
And yet as soon as something happens that we don’t understand, we’re just as prone to think that God has wronged us or is going to abandon us or isn’t looking out for us. It never occurs to us that things that seem painful and disturbing to us could be for our good. We just look at what we’re going through and then think only about that experience and don’t look at how God will use it.
We cannot literally do it, but in some ways we try to hide from God. We don’t go about our lives as we normally would when we think we have His favor. Oh when we think we have His favor we can tell everyone about the goodness of God and we can pray and read our Bibles and worship happily, but when evil strikes or even just something we don’t understand, we quickly change all of that.
A lot of times we might want an answer, but could we really handle one? What all might God have to explain about the future that we couldn’t possibly understand? I would have loved to have been able to talk to Shiro and tell him why everything was happening as it was, but he would not understand. If I cannot explain the ways of man to a cat, how much harder would it be to explain the ways of God to us, mere human beings?
What’s really sad is that with a cat, we could say a cat doesn’t know better, and in essence we’d be right, but we do know better. We as Christians do know all that God has done for us in the past. We know that He sent His son for us, and yet when evil strikes, we forget all about that.
In fact, this is often where our pride steps in. We treat ourselves like the exception. Oh sure, God will do that for everyone else and God loves everyone else, but not me. It’s like we go to John 3:16 and see that God so loved the world, except there’s that little asterisk that has next to it supposedly “Except Steve” or “Except Kim” or “Except Mark.” We read in Romans 5 that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, unless you’re John, Margaret, or Tyler.
Pride and shame are two sides of the same coin. In both cases today, we use them to treat ourselves as if we’re exceptional. We’re either exceptionally greater than we think or exceptionally worse than we think and we put whatever that is on God. Unfortunately, we are being just like Shiro. There is a world of good out there waiting for us and we refuse to come out and enjoy it because we do not trust in God.
You see, I can look at Shiro and think “Shiro. We do everything for you. We shower you with love constantly. We protect you from everything and give you so many good things. Why is it that as soon as we do something that seems different, you act like we’re out to get you?” Whenever I think like that though, I can often picture God looking at me and saying “Good questions. I’ve been asking you them for years.”
So right now, there’s a little white ball of fur in the doorway of my office here. I’m about to go feed him soon and he knows again that he can rely on my hand to take care of him. Will I not take this time to learn more that there is a hand greater than mine that is taking care of me even when it might not look like it?