Lessons from the Cat

Noelle Starr is our pet daughter.  She is actually a pussy cat who bethinks herself to be, and sometimes acts like, a person (sometimes she acts even better than people).  I don’t know if she was born with an innate misunderstanding of her role and place in the world, or whether we helped to form that misconception by the way we behave toward her.  I’ll let you speculate on that. 

In any event, she loves to be outdoors and with great gusto begs, from the rising of the sun to its going down, to be put out on her 25’ leash attached to a stake in the middle of the lawn.  I’m watching her as I type this as she nestles into a cave like hollow that she has made at the edge of our wild-flower patch.  There, under a thick canopy of daisies and black-eyed Susans she has hollowed out a refuge from the heat of the sun.  From that place of refuge she can survey the yard, watching for birds, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and other animals (cats and dogs … she’s ferocious) which are fair game for her hunting instincts.  Typically she will spend the entire day outside except for a two or three hour nap from 10am to 1pm.  Any other time and it is an affront to her to make her go inside.

Last week we had a day of intermittent rain, sometimes heavy and at one time mixed with pellets of hail.  Noelle refused to come in during the rain and hail, opting instead to lie contentedly in her cave, protected from the elements.

Today, something happened that struck me as illustrative of human nature.  We have tornado warning sirens in our community and on the first Tuesday of each month they test them.  First there is a voice that comes booming from the speakers mounted to the sirens, “This is a test of the Outdoor Emergency Warning System.  This is only a test.”  That is repeated two or three times from each location and you can hear them far and near.  This message is repeated by the wailing of the siren for a few minutes and then everything returns to normal.  When the test began today, and the warning unit nearest us burst forth with the “voice out of the sky”: “This is a test ….”  Immediately, Noelle, who had been comfortably resting in her cave burst forth and made a bee-line for the back porch where at the end of her leash she pranced and veritably jumped up and down, meowing at me until I came and released her so she could run into the house and hide.  Bravely facing down all sorts of backyard hazards and toying with all sorts of potentially dangerous situations all day, everyday … she was NOT at all interested in being outdoors while the “voice of God” was making an announcement.

Do you see where I am going with my thoughts?

How many of us fully enter into life with indiscriminate gusto, always on the alert to new opportunities for playful and enjoyable diversions … unmindful and maybe even uncaring of the dangers which they pose and their potential for serious damage.  We have built around ourselves a snug and secure little cave of rationalization and self deception which is in reality a false security.

Then suddenly, if we are fortunate, the voice of God bursts forth in our experience in any one of a number of ways that God might use to get our attention.  He is not announcing a test but He is issuing a directive and possibly even a warning.   Our response?  IF we hear Him at all, we often run for cover in an effort to avoid what He has to say to us. 

When the voice of God intrudes upon our everyday activity we do well to stop running and instead like young Samuel say, “Speak Lord, for they servant heareth.” (1 Sam 3.10)

I know that the thing that hinders me from hearing is that I am often pre-occupied with other things. It is not always that I do not WANT to hear God (though I wish I could say it was NEVER that).  The problem is usually that I am not focused on Him and His voice.  I am focused on and pre-occupied with things, with service and ministry, with convictions.  Consequently, God may say to me what He likes but I do not hear Him.

I wish to be able to be more consistent in displaying the attitude of “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”  I want to be less taken up with things—things which I (or others) say I must do and be, and thereby I become deaf to Him,

Have you heard God’s voice to-day?

 By the way … Noelle is currently stalking a chipmunk that has wandered into her territory! 🙂