CAN WE SEE GOD THROUGH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ANIMALS?
Now there’s a question that can bring up a lot of differing ideas and opinions. And not one that I intend to attempt giving a dogmatic answer to. But what I can do is share something that has been occurring with me for a few months now.
Outside of my woodworking shop I have a canvas carport with side covering that I use as a place to store my lumber. One morning last August I stepped out of my shop and saw something move near an outside bottom corner of that structure. I thought perhaps it was a cat or maybe a rabbit. As I stepped around that corner to see what it was there sat the skelton of a cat, covered with hide and hair, but not much else. As I moved toward him, he shied away, but after a few soft words he allowed me to pick him up. His eyes were matted with mucus and when he breathed bubbles came from his nostrils. I could tell this small animal was very close to death. I had my cell phone on me, so I called Cathy, my wife who was in the house and told her what was happening. She came out, took one look at the little guy and said, “You have to take him to the vet.”
Anyone who knows us knows that we’re not long on money. Taking a stray cat to the vet meant spending money we really couldn’t afford. But as I stood there holding and looking at this sick and starving cat, I knew I couldn’t just let him die, which he was very close to doing. So, after feeding him a small amount of cat food from our own spoiled cat, we put an old shop towel in the bottom of a cardboard box and I took him to the vet. He had serious upper respiratory infection and truly was almost starved to death. They gave him a shot, some medicine and sent medicine home with me. We, Cathy and I, had to put drops in his eyes twice a day and give him a big capsule each day, as well as keep him warm, safe and fed.
The days and weeks went by. The cat, who was a little tom, began to get well and gain some weight. As he settled in he became very loving and playful. After a few weeks and after much discussion about what to do with him we took him back to the vet to have him neutered and vaccinated and get him registered. We had decided to keep him.
Now to the point of all of this. As he got well and grew and grew into a secure home, we began to notice that he always wanted to be where I was. He followed me around more like a puppy dog than a cat. That’s been going on for some months now. He may be my cat, but more to the point, I’m his human. When he comes to me for me to love on him, I can sense that he knows I saved him. I saved his life and he not only knows it, he is grateful and shows that gratitude by wanting to be near me and wanting me to love on him.
One day, as I reached down and picked him up, this thought occurred to me: “Is this anything like our relationship to God?” How theologically correct is what I’m about to say? Maybe not very. Then again, I feel compelled to share it. I saved that cat’s life. No question about it. God saved mine and there’s no question about that either. I saved that cat, not because I needed or even wanted a cat, but because of love in my heart. (Not bragging. That’s just the truth). My heart just couldn’t stand by and let him die. Throw stones at me if you think I’m wrong about this, but I see God at the Garden of Eden after His masterpiece of creation sinned. Death was the penalty. But His heart just wouldn’t let Him stand by and do nothing. His heart dictated that He had to save them. Not all come to the edge of His lumber yard, sick and starving. But for those who do, (and He’s calling the rest), for those of us that come to Him, He saves us. And here’s where I think of the cat. He comes to me regularly, almost constantly, not just wanting me to love on him, but I think he’s there showing me how much he loves me and thanks me for saving his life.
Sometimes I have misunderstood prayer. This cat has taught me that God isn’t so concerned about my problems. He knows all about my needs and will meet my needs just the same as I will tend to the needs of this cat. What I need to do is show God my love and gratitude every minute of every day. He sent His Son to save my life. He will care for my needs. My cat has shown me what it looks like to love and appreciate God for the love with which He has loved us.
Just my thoughts,