This past April, we rescued a Snowshoe Lynx Point Siamese cat with the help of a group called ReTails. A couple of days ago while Dorothy was being Dorothy, it occurred to me that in her own goofy way, she leads me to think of some truths about God. Here we go:
(1) We are trapped! How did Dorothy end up in a cage in a Petco store one Saturday? Nobody knows her story. Maybe she was a stray. Maybe she was put outside by a family that didn't want her anymore. She demonstrates some upbringing. She knows how to use the litter box, she plays with cat toys. Yet, that wasn't good enough. She was still sentenced to a rescue display at a pet store.
Romans 3:10-11 - ...as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks God...
Romans 3:22-24 - ...for there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...
When we compare ourselves to God's standard, we are all trapped. 100% perfection 100% of the time. You and I are caught in a cage of our own making. We may think of ourselves as good, we may have some upbringing, we have morals. But we are still under God's condemnation.
(2) We are rescued!
It was time to make room in our home and hearts for another cat (we had a Siamese, Abbey, who lived a full life with us for 18 years). The ReTails website had our Dorothy Dumpling on their web page. Darling Bride and the kids went to Petco for a look (I was in the office wrapping up income tax season). We traded text messages, and Dorothy's blue eyes and overall cat cuteness led us to bring her home.
Romans 5:6-8 - For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So, the analogy breaks down a little bit here.
In contrast to the fact that we rescued and adopted Dorothy Dumpling because of something we saw in her, God cannot see anything in us because of His holiness and our lack thereof. Yet despite that, God so loved us that He sent His one and only Son Jesus, so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
(3) We are changing, even though it may not be easy!
There are ironies about our quirky rescue cat. She is adventurous, yet gets scared easily. She likes to be with us, yet doesn't like to be held too long. She cries for her premium canned cat food, yet often only nibbles and licks the gravy. As mentioned earlier, there is something about her past that holds her back. Was she mistreated? Did another animal or human sin against her?
Romans 7:15-18 - For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
At our local church, our current sermon series is about mortifying sin. In the passage above, and accompanying verses, our pastor made the observation that "Sin, Even After Conversion, Remains Within," supported by these points:
- Christians are still sinful
- There is a real struggle
- Indwelling sin creates a heart-based war zone
- The battle involves actions, thoughts, and desires
Then he finishes with this promise from Romans 7:24-25 - "do not despair, fight by fleeing to Christ" - "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin...
Do you have pets? What do they teach you?
"...ask the beasts, and they will teach you..." - Job 12:7