My An Arkie's Faith column from the February 8, 2017, issue of The Mena Star.
Some years ago I came home from work one day and my wife met me at the door. "Do you hear that," my wife asked. “Yes,” I answered, “it sounds like a kitten.” Meow, Meooooow, Meooooooooow. “You better go check it out,” my wife said, “it sounds like a kitten is in trouble.”
We walked down the hill to the creek behind our house. The pitiful cries grew louder and louder. They were coming from a small gray kitten. He was caught in a tangle of roots on the creek bank. The kitten was on the far side of the creek. This meant that I had to walk down the creek to a place narrow enough to cross. I found a place where I could wade across the creek; then I fought my way through a mass of bushes and briars. When I finally reached the drenched kitten, he frantically held on to the roots. I had to pull with all my strength to get him out.
I was afraid that the kitten would fight like a little tiger because of how fiercely he had struggled; however, when I held him close, he melted into my chest. Almost immediately I heard a soft, gentle purring. “Hello, Moses,” I said, “your name will have to be Moses because I drew you out of the water.”
What were we going to do with a kitten? Our family had never owned a cat. We had always been dog people. Our dogs have always been pampered pets. Some people have even said that our dogs were the masters of the house. Now we had a tiny helpless kitten. What should we do with it? I guess it was ours.
We carried Moses to our back porch. My wife brought towels and an old pet taxi. We dried him off and made him a soft bed in the pet taxi. I put Moses down, and he immediately climbed my leg, perched on my shoulder, and purred in my ear.
Our back porch became the kitten’s home. He was firmly attached to it. The world beyond the back porch was a strange and scary place and he would not venture into that world. He refused to leave the back porch. If I carried him into the front yard, he would begin desperately clawing, fighting, and freaking out. He wanted down so that he could run back to the safety of the back porch.
When I remember how Moses came into our lives, it reminds me of how my relationship with God developed. I remember being in the creek. In Psalms 69:1-3 (NLT) David wrote about his experience in the creek. " Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.”
When Moses the kitten cried out someone came to rescue him. God has made a promise to us. "Call to Me, and I will answer you." Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) When God answers our call, he will bring us to a place of safety.
Moses found a place of peace and safety on the back porch. He knew that as long as he was on the back porch, nothing bad was going to happen to him. God has provided a place of peace and safety for us. "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble." Psalms 119:165 (NKJV) We need to look at God's law the way that Moses looked at the back porch. He realized that the back porch was his place of peace and safety and he wanted to be there. When he was anyplace else, it made him very uncomfortable.
Many times we look at God's law as a jail. We feel that it creates uncomfortable restrictions. We need to ask God to give us a love for his commandments, to instill in us a desire for the peace and safety of His law. No one forced Moses to stay on our back porch; he stayed because he loved the feeling of security. That is how we should view God's law. "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 (NLT)
Just like Moses the kitty found that the front yard was a scary place, many people find the world frightening. It seems like the foundations of our society are crumbling beneath our feet because we are no longer a society that distinguishes right from wrong. God’s commandments are no longer the determination of what is right and wrong. “Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place — and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void,” reads a recent report by the Barna Group.
Gentle Reader, God’s commandments are like an umbrella. When you stay under the umbrella of God’s commandments, it protects you from many consequences. If you step out from under its protective cover, you suffer the consequences. Be like Moses the kitty and stay in the safety of God’s law. If you do, God promises in Leviticus 25:18 (NIV), “follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.”