I recently fostered a kitten for the weekend (and yes, I do realize that I am beginning the slow descent toward “cat lady” status). When I brought little Anya home in the afternoon, she sat and snuggled in my lap while I petted her and hand-fed her treats. But as night closed in and I started a load of laundry (making lots of loud, scary noises), Anya ran behind the couch and wouldn’t come out, even to eat.
I wanted to hold her and comfort her, but all she saw was a big, scary new place with a stranger holding her captive.
I wanted to feed her and let her know that I would take care of her. But her food bowl was out in the open, surrounded by frightening new sounds and shadows.
I wanted to let her know how much she was loved, but every time I tried to take her in my arms, she ran and hid in deeper darkness.
What I learned from my scaredy cat over the past weekend is what my life must look like from God’s perspective. He has stripped me of once-close friends, two different ex-fiances, various phenomenal opportunities and worldly accomplishments, and so many other things that I desperately wanted and believed were desirable. But He sees the bigger picture – the grand, overarching, eternal perspective – and is always working for my good and His glory.
A lot of Christians pick a “life verse” – a bible verse that speaks to them and is representative of their life. Mine is rather unconventional:
“I will punish her for all those times when… she put on her earrings and jewels and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about me,’ says the Lord. ‘But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity.” -Hosea 2:13-15
When God leads me into the desert and strips away all the people and things that normally comfort me or provide me with a sense of identity, He is really doing what I was doing for Anya when I physically pried her from behind the washing machine, where she had found comfort with dust bunnies, and placed her gently on her plush bed, with freshly opened food waiting to be eaten by her rumbly tumbly.
C.S. Lewis said it well:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”