One day an old tomcat came to our house. It was obvious by his manner that he had been living wild all his life. His leg was badly injured, and he had great, infected sores from where he had been fighting.
It was clear that without help, he was just not going to make it.
My heart went out to him! I was filled with compassion towards this poor old cat. Here he was, just a miserable, rather smelly old cat- with no social graces and nothing really to recommend him. He could do nothing for me. I just wanted to have mercy on him - to heal him, feed him, provide everything he needed for his comfort, and to establish a relationship of trust with him, so we could enjoy each other's company.
TRUST! That was something he had NEVER experienced! There was no way that he was ever going to allow a human being anywhere near him. No way, that he was EVER going to give up what independance he had, to put himself in a position of dependance upon anyone else but himself.
But it was obvious to us, that he was in no position to care for himself anymore. If he did not yield to the help that we were offering, he would die.
It became my first priority, to establish trust with this poor old cat, and to gain his confidence. We would put his food on the ground, and then retreat whilst he ate enough to keep him going, then he would flee to what he thought was a safe distance! Every day, I would try to get a little nearer to him. I longed for the day when he would come and take freely from my hand, with no fear - seeing me only as his provider and friend, who wanted only to bless him.
There came a day when I made up my mind - I'm going to try and get this dear old cat to trust me enough to eat out of my hand. It was a furiously hot day in the middle of summer.I was lying full length on the hot ground, with ants running over my body, perspiration dripping off me, holding out a tasty morsel of chicken to this cat. Stretching out my hand, just longing to have him reach out in return, and take from my hand all I wanted to bless him with for the rest of his life.
Lying there, realising the conditions around me, I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this?"
It was then, lying there in the dust, that I heard the voice of God, deep within my spirit. He was saying, "This is how I feel about my people. This is how much I long to reach out and have fellowship with them, how much I long to bless them and take care of them and provide for them. I would give to them and love them and have compassion on them even as you are loving and wanting to give to this cat, not for anything that he could do for you in return...he has nothing to give, apart from his trust and love, but you would have provided for him and protected him for the rest of his life, IF he would have let you."
Do you know, that simple little experience with that poor old tomcat, gave me a much greater understanding of the mercy and goodness and provision of our loving God, than any church sermon has ever done!
It gave me such an understanding, of how the Father longs to have relationship with us, but will never put pressure on us. We have to trust HIM....he is there, reaching out to us, but we also have to reach back as it were, in an attitude of trust.
I would like to be able to report a happily-ever-after ending here, but the fact was, that old tomcat never did come to that place of trust. He put his faith and trust in his own ability and it ended in death, for him. He just couldn't make it, on his own.
I was holding out life to him, just as God is holding out eternal life to us.
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