Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kitten Courage in my Human Heart

This is the story that was accepted by AllWorship, and was sent out in their weekly devotional email.


It is hard to know how old little Jean-Luc was when he and his mother were dropped off at the end of our lane this past spring. His mother, just a kitten herself, was sleek and black. She was gorgeous. She was also hit and killed by a car on the road soon after she and her baby were left. I found her, lying across the mouth of my kilometer-long lane one morning.

Later that day, my husband said that he had seen a grey kitten near where I had placed her body in the grass. He tried to catch him, but the little guy was so frightened, he actually jumped into the cold dark water of the ditch to avoid capture. I placed food in a dish near the ditch and looked for him, but he was well hidden.

For a week, every night when my husband and I went on our evening walks down the lane, I looked for the kitten. It had been a cold, rainy week, and I assumed that either he had traveled to a farm nearby or had also been killed on the road. The food I had left for him had been eaten up within the first few days, but I knew that anything could have eaten it. I thought about him often, and wondered how and where he was.

Then one evening, as my husband and I passed the front field on our walk, we noticed that our two dogs had dug up all the grass and mud under a baler that had been parked by the field. Both dogs were covered in mud and had obviously spent the day gleefully trying to get at whatever was hiding in the machinery. We assumed it was a chipmunk, or maybe a raccoon. We proceeded with our walk, the dogs taking a break form digging duties to accompany us. When we returned home, it was almost dark. We walked past the baler, chatting and laughing once again at the huge patch of dirt the dogs had managed to dig up.

As we approached the house, we heard it. Meowing. The loud, frantic cry of a terrified kitten. He was the poor creature in the baler. I put the dogs in the house, grabbed some food and within minutes he was in my hand, scarfing down the food so quickly he accidently bit my hand twice. He was beautiful, grey and soft. He was also painfully thin.

Once inside, we allowed him to eat until he was satisfied. The dogs were curious, and from the safety of my lap, the kitten narrowed his eyes and growled manfully at them. Clearly, forgiveness would take time. I named the kitten Jean-Luc, for my favorite Star Trek captain, Jean-Luc Picard. He quickly became a part of our family, a sweet, very affectionate little friend.

Part of the reason I named the kitten after a Star Trek captain was because of his incredible courage. He had survived a week in the cold, wet wild. He'd had little to no food, was alone and defenseless, and had spent the day of his rescue being tormented by two well-meaning but very scary dogs. It
just may be, though, that his most impressive act of courage was making the decision to ask for help. He had, effectively, hit rock bottom. He was too hungry, too cold, too tired and too frightened to keep trying to make it on his own. Where at one time he had run from help, a week's worth of misery had gotten him to the place where he was willing to cry out for it.

He heard our voices as we walked by the baler. He knew we were there, and he had only a small window of opportunity before we got to the house and went inside, where we would not have heard him crying. He took a deep breath, put away his fear, and called out to us. As loudly as he could.

And we heard him. We came running. We wanted to save him. We already cared.

"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe." Psalm

It takes courage to admit that we need help, that we cannot walk this road alone. Shortly after Jean-Luc came into my life, I was hit with family troubles that left me blindsided, in pain and afraid. I have something in common with Jean-Luc, though.

When I feel alone, I am not.

Just as my thoughts were always on Jean-Luc, even as he was lost, so am I always on my Heavenly Father's mind and heart. God is eagerly waiting for me to reach out to Him, to admit that I cannot do this alone, to cry out to Him for help and sustenance.

When we are in pain, wounded and broken, it can be hard to trust ourselves into the hands of another, even one as faithful as God. We feel fragile, as if one more disappointment might break us into pieces.

God is loving and true, and is worthy of our trust.

If someone like me, a mere human, can reach out and scoop up a kitten into the safety and comfort of my arms, how much more does our holy and righteous God want to scoop us up and hold us close to Him?

I am crying out to God today. If there is one thing I have learned from little Jean-Luc, it is that I don't have to wait for the dogs to try to dig me out of my hiding place before I call on God to help me.

His ear is turned to me now. His heart belongs to me now. His love and care are mine now. And so now, I cry out to Him, giving Him my life and my trust. Now, I can relax and rest in the love and peace of God's care for me.

by Kelly Dyck

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