Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Having a Cat Has Taught Me About Grace

We have a little brown and black tabby cat named Amos. Amos is probably the worst behaved cat I know. If cats were susceptible to ADHD, our cat Amos would be the definition of the symptoms. He bites when you touch him. He attacks feet, hands, anything that moves in his presence. He ruins curtains and carpets; he leaves scars with his attempts at displaying affection. And more than once, I've said to Sarah, "Why do we keep him? He's far more trouble than he's worth." To which she always replies, "He makes us happy."

Happy? Does Amos make me happy? I guess he does, in a way. He's a very cute little guy, and when he's playing with one of his little jingly balls, batting it across the kitchen floor and juggling it between his feet, or carrying around my stuffed monkey in his mouth (the one he claimed as his own and proceeded to demolish with tooth and claw), or balancing his back feet on a tennis ball, I have to concede she's right: he does.

And more than just making me happy, Amos gives me a daily reminder of God's relationship to us. Part of my complaint against the critter is that we rescued him from the jaws of death at the animal shelter, and he repays us by destroying all of our stuff and by biting and scratching us constantly. Malicious or not, it's never terribly pleasant to be a recipient of a cat's playful arsenal. But just as we rescued Amos from euthanization at the animal shelter, so God also snatched us from gaping mouth of hell. And just as Amos repays us by shredding our carpet to bits, or pulling threads out of our couch, or scratching our arms when we try to pet him, so we treat God with our constant failure to live up to His standards for us. He takes us in and asks us not to lie, not to lust, not to hate; we don't even go a full day without doing those things. Yet God promises above all that He'll never leave us or forsake us, and that He'll complete the work He began in us.

So I think I'll stop whining about Amos. I think I'll let him live with us, and instead of yelling about wanting to get rid of him next time he puts claw marks in the curtains, I think I'll thank God for this little reminder of His so very longsuffering patience He has for us.