I went to pick up one of our cats today from the veterinarian. (Monroe is his name and, for those curious, he was taken in to have his manhood removed.) Even in such a trivial matter, God really spoke to me as I drove home with him in the truck as there were many circumstances that mirror our spiritual lives that took place on the short journey back to our house.
Monroe was boxed up and hauled off to the vet out of my wife's desire to take care of him. In all honesty, as a newcomer to the definition of a "cat person" myself, I truly didn't care whether we had him fixed or not. She stated that it was in his best interest and would be what would "keep him around and safe". She also said that it would make him much more gentle and loveable. So I gave in and went along with the idea, due to her insistence.
It's now the day after and I've just picked him up. There's me, driving the truck the 30 miles back to our house and Monroe, in his cardboard cat carrier, quite unhappy about the whole endeavor. He had been taken to a foreign place, handled by strangers, operated on and put in and out of places that he had never even seen before. I'm quite sure that he didn't see the whole venture as being in his best interest whatsoever. What he was unaware of though, is that someone else was looking out for him and knew that the 24 hours of "suffering" would be what's best for him in the long run. Now this isn't such a hard stretch to see how it parallels our walk with the Lord now is it?
Let's take it a bit further. On the way home, Monroe was getting a little unruly as he began to move about so much in the crate that he began to shake the entire thing pretty violently. I could see his claws reaching out through the holes and even an occasional tooth now and then. Plain and simple – he wanted out. I could have opened the crate and let him out at any moment, even though I knew we'd soon be home. He would be free to roam about as he pleased, within the confines of the truck, of course. I'm sure in his mind, all would have been well if I had. But knowing him as I do, this would have made things even worse as I'm sure he would have gone mad at seeing the scenery fly by at 70 plus mph. He likely would have gone berserk and tore me apart in the process. So, despite his many attempts to persuade me to let him out, I stayed true to what was best for him and left him confined to the crate. He is my responsibility and I will do what it takes to keep him safe, no matter if he agrees with it or not. His "release" would have taken place at the exact same time if he had fought and clawed for it as if he had quietly and peacefully lay there. Which would have been more desirable to he and I both?
How often is that just like our walk with the Lord? Monroe could only see through the small holes of his crate. Maybe you feel confined, peeking out to see all that you can but you just can't make anything out quite yet. Remember, it may be for your own good. Perhaps God has you just where He wants you – in His safety, in His care. Don't be so fast to scratch and claw your way out to make your own way when His way is what's best. He knows what you need and when you need it. He knows what is best for you and what will harm you. Lay it all in His hands and you will come out of it all just as He desires you to be.
So Monroe is home now. He is no doubt in the backyard somewhere, never straying too far from his home. He's been "set free" to roam again, to rest, to be himself. If what my wife says is true, he will now be more gentle and more loving, but one thing I know for sure. As free as he thinks he is again, he will still return each and every day to be fed and cared for by his master's hand. May I be like Monroe. May I realize that my life is not my own. My plans are not perfect plans and My Master truly knows what's best for me. May I rest in the peace of knowing and trusting in this and this alone, for He will truly be with me through it all until He brings me out on the other side.