You've been trapping cats all day. Not lions or tigers, silly - domestic cats that have gone awry. The cats don't know the property owner is upset that they seem to be multiplying at the speed of sound. In less than two months, there have been two or three litters of kittens born in various hidden locations on the property. One or two cats has now turned into fourteen cats or more. This was the case for me (a cat lover) last summer when I rounded up a stray (feral) cat colony at my step-father's property.
Diary of a Cat Trapper
I caught all ten cats in my colony over the weekend, excluding the four kittens that I had already taken to the no-kill shelter earlier that week. One of these cats was a drifter that only came around to help the colony multiply. He certainly wasn't friendly - not even to the other cats. I was surprised that he went into the trap. He ran the other cats off and stole their food, but he wasn't expecting that trap door to shut on him. What a shock. I have never seen a cat totally freak out like that. I made the mistake of thinking I could transfer him to a larger cage after he stopped screaming and hissing. He managed, somehow, to escape out of a tiny unhooked corner of my transfer cage during the process. The hole he squeezed through was no bigger than the palm of my hand... and this was a BIG, MEAN CAT. He came up out of that tiny hole with all his claws pointed towards ME and his eyes popping out of his head in what looked to be the epitome of evil! He looked like black cat ketchup - squirting out of that cage in a lump of fur. I stood back to let him go (I wasn't about to get myself clawed to death), feeling just a slight bit sorry for him because I knew the hook on the edge of the cage was slicing into his side. He streaked like lightning up the side of the hill. I knew he wouldn't be back for more stinky cat food from me! He was probably never going to be fooled by another trap!
We called that cat Diablo for obvious reasons. He was wild and crazy... and scary! I caught all of the other cats without much trouble... but he was the one that got away. The term "popcorn cat" is one I use for the cats who, once caught, bounce around like a kernel of popcorn in the cage. They pop around in there without regard to the metal scraping against their faces and the insanity they display at hurting themselves so badly. A while ago, a little video about 'Pinkey the Cat' traveled around the e-sphere and made it's way to my e-mail box. I got a big kick out of seeing Pinkey acting a bit like a popcorn cat, but he had allowed the shelter volunteer to hold him before hand. Diablo was in no way going to let any human near him, even if it meant killing himself to get out of that cage.
Beth and Jesus
So where am I going with the popcorn cat thing? I've probably lost all of you dog people already! To make a short story long, I had an epiphany today as I was listening to a Beth Moore CD in my car. She's a Bible Teacher out of Houston, Texas that has some awesome material - mainly for women. She doesn't claim to be a preacher, but she does preach the Word in a women's Bible class and in seminars for women around the globe. Everyone has their favorite Bible teacher. She's mine. I have been moved to tears more times than I can count through her studies. If I sound like a paid advertiser, I'm not - well, at least I'm not paid!
Beth was talking about our focus on this particular tape. She was speaking of how our lives are so full of distraction that we are missing the real purpose - to know and love Jesus. I loved her terminology for a person who's attentions are spread too thin: "Two miles wide and a half an inch deep." I can certainly identify. She quoted Rick Warren in his book 'The Purpose Driven Life' as saying, "You become effective by being selective". This is so true. My father has said a number of times that PHD only means "Piled Higher and Deeper", and the more you learn about something, the less you know about everything else. Well, the same thing is true for the opposite. The more things you are trying to focus on, the less in depth you actually can focus on anything. Beth says we are "totally caught up in a thousand different things and not doing any of them well" and that "our divided hearts and our divided loyalties are the death of us". So true.
Colossians 3:4 - When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
He is supposed to BE our life. Our purpose.
... that CAT!!!!!!!!
I pictured that cat fighting against that cage, banging it's poor furry face against the bars until it was blood-stained and scratched. I related it to my life - and how I've been trying to figure out how to FIX my own situation with this house and our collapsing finances. Then, after I had this image in my head, I thought of...
Who's Gideon? He's a "Mighty Warrior" whom God used to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites (found in Judges 6), some would say. But he didn't start out that way. The Bible introduces us to Gideon as a scared little Israelite who's hiding from his enemies. An angel appeared to him and greets him with this message: "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior". You see, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded Israel and burned their crops, so they had to hide their food from their enemies. Their enemies ravaged their lands and impoverished them. The Lord eventually used Gideon to lead a very tiny army of Israelites against the biggest force of ruthless warriors that Israel had ever been up against. It wasn't by their own strength that they won the day, though. God sent their enemies into confusion and they drew their swords against their own countrymen.
So here I sat and thought of how God turned an impossible situation into the most major triumph of Gideon's life. I thought of how senseless it was for that cat to fight in that cage. Sure - he had a way out, but at what cost? I don't think bleeding internally and dying a slow miserable death under a bush somewhere in the wilderness is a good plan. I wondered what way I was choosing: MY way - like the cat - or God's Way? Gideon was not a warrior when the angel gave him that title. He had lots of fears and doubts through the events leading up to his final act of obedience to God. God was patient with his doubts. I know He's just as patient with me. After all, I haven't been singed by any lightning lately, and I certainly have whined enough to deserve it! And there you have it, folks - that's where the rabbit trail ended. Popcorn cats, God's deliverance and our life's purpose, all coming together in a string of thoughts to create one of those eye-opening moments for me.
Time to be still in my "cage" - and know that God is in control. What a relief!