Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Little Gray Kitten

My An Arkie's Faith column from the May 23, 2018, issue of The Mena Star.

The little gray kitten was nowhere to be found. Two grown men were crawling on the dirty shop floor, looking under the dozen or so old cars stored there. Car parts, toys, and tires were stacked all around the cars. There were many many places for a tiny kitten to hide. How would they ever find the little gray kitten?

A half-hour earlier, a customer had come into my shop for a windshield repair. As I worked on the windshield, the customer opened the liftgate of the SUV so it would not get too hot. In the back was a tiny kitten in a cardboard carrier. When the job was finished, the customer was ready to close the liftgate. He noticed a hole in the carrier and saw that the kitten was missing. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the little gray kitten streaking into the building full of old cars. He hurried into the building as he asked me to help him find the kitten.

I’m sure that it was quite a sight to see two men crawling on the floor and looking under cars. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Here kitty, kitty, kitty.” We looked under car after car with no luck. Where could that little kitten be? There were so many places to look. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Here kitty, kitty, kitty.” Finally, we heard a feeble little “meow.” We couldn’t see anything, but at least we knew the general direction to look in. After several more minutes, I spotted a flash of gray behind a large piece of cardboard.

We now knew exactly where the little gray kitten was. We quietly and carefully positioned ourselves so that the kitten couldn’t escape. As we closed in, the little kitten tried to shoot past me. I was able to reach out and catch the tiny gray body as it tried to get past me. At first, the kitten struggled; but as I held the tiny body close to my chest, it calmed down and seemed to want to melt into me. The customer was very relieved to get the little gray kitten back into the carrier. Now he could get the kitten safely home.

As I was trying to retrieve the little gray kitten, I thought, “doesn’t the kitten know it is not in it’s best interest to hide from us?” If the owner isn’t there to take care of the kitten, how will it eat? Who will protect it? It reminded me of a story found in the Bible.

From the beginning, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. But one day everything changed. They had disobeyed God, and they knew it. Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid. In their shame, they could not face God as he came to walk with them. “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Genesis 3:8,9 (NLT)

Why were Adam and Eve trying to hide from God? They were afraid. Just like the little gray kitten was frightened and ran into the building to find a place to hide, Adam and Eve were afraid and wanted to hide. What were Adam and Eve afraid of? Had God ever given them a reason to fear Him? They knew that they had disobeyed and were sure they were in trouble. But the Bible tells us that “there is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18 (GNT)

We may be tempted to run and hide from God when we sin against Him, but we must realize that God’s desire is for us to draw close to Him. In Romans 5:9 (TPT), Paul tells us that “Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!” That doesn’t sound like someone we need to hide from or be afraid of.

Maybe we hide because we’ve done something wrong and don’t want to get in trouble. Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to feel guilty about something we’ve done. But God says, “I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me.” Jeremiah 16:17 (NLT)

We hide because we don’t want to have to come to terms with God’s authority over us and our lives. We want to do what we want to do, and if we encounter God, we might have to let Him be in charge. So, we do our best to hide from Him.

Gentle Reader, if we truly believe that when God allows us to face the consequences, it’s for our good, then we won’t be afraid to face Him when we’ve done something wrong. If we truly believe that with God in control, our lives would be much better, we won’t be afraid of Him. 1 John 1:9 (KJV) tells us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And Psalms 103:12 (NIRV) assures us that God “has removed our sins from us. He has removed them as far as the east is from the west.” God “is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) God wants to save you more than anything else in the world. Don’t be afraid like the little gray kitten, but allow God to rescue you. You will be glad you did.

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