Today's Reading: Isaiah 40:11 NIV
11 He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
When I first heard the noise outside our parsonage early this morning, I presumed God was waking me up to write. Then I noticed that our pretty kitty Faith had also reacted to the sounds outside. Was the Holy Spirit speaking to her too? Shortly thereafter, a second snowball crashed hard against our bedroom window. Jeff and I went outside together in the darkness and watched a young someone disappear into the shadows at the edge of our back yard. With cigarette in hand, he left a fresh trail of footprints in the frozen snow. Someone was obviously feeling a bit feisty today.
Our kitty Faith has a feisty disposition. She often vies for the attention with our sweet cocker spaniel, Ginger. During the day, they fight over which adult type will hold and pet them. Quite often, if Ginger is sitting with me, Faith will pounce onto my lap, scaring both of us, and forcing Ginger to move. Faith makes herself comfortable in the warm spot Ginger has left behind. Faith always a finds a way to get what she wants.
It never fails. Whenever I'm cooking, Faith tries to snoop around the hot stove. She doesn't understand why I place her in kitty time out while I'm working in the kitchen. It is only for her protection and our general health that she is banned to the bedroom. There, she has her toys and bed, her food and water, and kitty litter box. It is a virtual kitten heaven back there, but there are many times when she is not satisfied with what we've provided for her. Faith can become instantly moody and feisty, especially in the evenings after she has spent some time in the bedroom alone.
Jeff and I had just crawled into bed for the night. Ginger leapt onto the covers and curled up next to me. Faith was being playful, pouncing on Jeff's bare toes. She has a foot fettish, that kitty of ours, and it has truly become a term of endearment. Jeff pulled Faith from his feet and tried to love on her some. Faith obviously had something else in mind. Without as much as a warning, Faith flew into attack mode and bit Jeff hard on the arm. It was actually a scary thing to watch. I presumed she was out of sorts and angry with me for having put her in kitty time out during dinner. What happened in the next moment was amazing to me. Jeff pulled Faith close to his bleeding arm and began to gently massage her forehead and chin. Speaking words of kindness and love to her, Faith began to relax in his arms. She calmed down and peacefully fell asleep in her master's protection and love.
Isn't this exactly how the Lord loves us? He protects us like a shepherd, from the things in life that will ultimately harm us. He wants nothing but our very best. The Father gave us commandments to obey and when we choose to break them, we suddenly find ourselves separated from the loving Master. Have you ever lashed out irrationally at the One who loves you and laid down His life to save you?
When we choose willful disobedience, sporting our feisty, self-centered attitudes, the loving shepherd does not let us simply disappear into the darkness. No matter how hard we may try to fight Him, Jesus has a wonderful way of drawing us back, holding us close with His nail-scarred hands. Christ's sacrificial blood covers all our imperfect ways; He bridges the gap between human sin and the Father's perfect will. It is only His love that can give us a restful night's sleep, peace in the middle of our storms, and a hope for the promise of eternal day.
I would presume that our early morning visitor must have had a rough time sleeping last night. Why else would he show up in our back yard in sub-zero temperatures, pounding our bedroom window with snowballs? A steamy cup of hot chocolate and a kind conversation may have soothed his feisty spirit. Yet, he chose to run off into the darkness alone. He may be able to run away from me, but I know He is never too far away that my Savior cannot find and bring him back home.
Sweet Faith is snoozing peacefully in the chair where I sit writing today. She knows she is safe and loved, no matter what her general mood may be. And I know, without a doubt, that my Lord loves me right where I am, in the middle of my circumstance. He loves my feisty disposition and He will never let me go.
Lord Jesus, how amazing is your love for me!
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
Copyright 2011, Deb Spaulding
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