I have two cats. That fact alone is enough to make some of you cringe and some of you go, “Aaahh.” But the fact of the matter is I do have two cats. I am not quite the “crazy cat lady,” but I am about one step away from becoming one. I talk to them as if they are my babies. I spend much of my time letting the cats out, letting the cats in, letting the cats out, letting…well, you get the picture. Another good size chunk of my time is being sure their little cat bellies are full and happy. Every morning I either get a kitty ballet or a kitty opera. It all depends on how long they have had to wait for breakfast. If I don’t wait too long, they do a graceful little dance around my feet designed to trip me up, but if I wait for what they consider to be too long a time to feed them I get a full blown cat opera with arias and all. Despite all this I love those two critters and they bring me much joy and comfort.
These two cats have taught me something about myself and my relationship to God.
The male cat, Buster, is white with tortoise markings, has a short stubby tail, and a personality that doesn’t quit. He is most definitely “alpha cat” and even thinks he is one rung above me. He is almost like a dog in his need for attention and belly rubs. The neighbors all love him and have even sent me notes thanking me for “hosting the neighborhood cat.” Neighborhood kids knock on the door and ask if Buster can come out and play. He is a piece of work.
The female cat is Isabelle or Izzy. She is mostly black with orange and white flecks in her fur, a delightful little orange chin, and long graceful black velvety legs. She is very frightened of strangers and feels that if she doesn’t know you, you must be the spawn of Satan. She, however, is very loving and gentle with me.
When I was laying on my back for months on end a few years ago after my back surgery, these two animals kept me company, entertained me, and taught me. I noticed that Buster would jump up on the bed and then onto my chest, stick his face in my face, and demand that I rub, scratch, or pet him. It was as if he was saying, “Here I am. I love you. I want to be with you, but even more I want you to use those God-given hands and take care of my needs. You have opposable thumbs, use them!” He made it very clear that if I was going to enjoy his presence, I needed to give him what he wanted or he wasn’t going to purr.
Isabelle on the other hand, would jump up on the bed and gently lay by my side and start to purr. She demanded nothing from me. It was as if she was saying, “Here I am. I love you and I just want to be with you. You don’t have to do anything, but if you want to, I’m close enough that you can be comforted by stroking my soft fur.” She just wanted to be with me.
As I lay there thinking about these two, I realize that we are so much like Buster when we come to God in prayer.
Yes, we want to be in His presence because we love Him, but usually come with a long list of things He can do for us. After all, He is all powerful, almighty God, Creator of the universe. Surely, He can meet our needs. I’m not suggesting we stop going to God with our requests. No, not at all! He loves it when we come to Him and He delights in answering our prayer requests. I just wonder if we need to be a little bit more like Isabelle and sometimes come into His presence just to BE with Him. No requests, no demands, just loving Him and being loved by Him.
One of the prayer practices that I adopted a long time ago is what I call my “cuddle time” with God.
Every morning before I get out of bed, I spend time just being with Him – recalling scripture passages that speak His words of love into my heart and life and telling Him how much a love Him. May I suggest that as we begin this new year, we make an effort to be a little more like Isabelle and simply enjoy loving and being loved by our Abba. Let’s determine to embrace Psalm 46:10 and “Be still and know that I am God.”