Cats have been on my mind a lot lately. We took in a stray last year (you can read more about that in my previous posts, A Kitty Cat’s Tale (Pun Intended) and Nine Things to Love About Cats – From a Former Dog Person).
I work at a steel mill, and there are always cats running around. This year though, there has, we believe, been one very active male. We had three or four litters of kittens running around. Before we took in our stray last year, I never would have considered taking one home from work. For one thing, they are very dirty – a steel mill is a filthy environment. For another, I just didn’t think that I cared for cats. We had dogs, and the two just don’t mix.
But, we found, that the cat and dog got along just fine. Our first cat is black, and I ended up bringing home a white one. He was so dirty, he looked gray. Turns out, the cats love each other too.
This new cat is the sweetest. He purrs constantly. Perhaps he’s just grateful to have a home, instead of sleeping on concrete and rocks.
In addition, we’ve been making trips outside at work, to look at darling, tiny kittens. I was also involved in an effort to capture several of them, with the hope of finding them homes.
This will seem a little disjointed, but it will all come together in the end!
Now on to the faith part. We’ve been attending a new church over the past several months. I wanted to learn more about the church, and I’ve been struggling with some things, so I asked the Lead Pastor if he would meet with me to talk.
One of the things we talked about was my history with church and faith. Tonight, I remembered one cat in particular that changed my faith, and not in a good way . . . or was it?
When I was in college, one of my roommates brought a cat to the house we were renting. I wasn’t thrilled about this, because pets were against the rules. But, it was a nice enough cat, and I accepted that he was going to be around.
One day, I was talking on the phone (this was before everyone had cell phones . . . it was around 1992 or 1993). The cat approached me, so I picked him up. I was holding him near my shoulder and face when he jumped off. He hit the foot board of a bed (I thought with just his feet) and took off.
I didn’t think too much of it, but later, my roommate noticed that he was bleeding from his gums. She took the cat to the vet. I spent a sleepless night praying for this cat to get well, because I knew my roommate blamed me, even though I had done nothing wrong.
While the vet had the cat, she decided to get him fixed. It turned out, the cat was a hemophiliac and he died. Even without his injury, he would have likely died from the procedure. Still, the experience stuck with me, perhaps even longer than I’ve realized.
When God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted, I wondered, what is the point in praying? Is God even listening?
That feeling and doubt stuck with me for years. While I did not totally reject God, He certainly wasn’t the focus of my life for a very long time.
Now, I realize how immature my thinking was. To think that God could answer “Yes” to our every request simply doesn’t make any sense if you think about it. Many times, our requests are just plain selfish. We don’t look at the big picture, even when some of it is available to us. But, more often, the big picture includes details that we do not know. We have to trust that, when the answer is “No”, God knows best.
So, what is the point of praying? It isn’t just asking for things, or it shouldn’t be. It includes praise, forgiveness, growth, thankfulness, and yes, sometimes asking for things. God desires a relationship with us, and that can best be achieved by reading His word, worshiping Him, and praying. True faith comes when we continue to trust in Him, even when we don’t get what we think we need and want.