I’ve written a bit lately about my late mom’s big, orange cat, Dundee, who I am temporarily housing until he can go to his forever home out west with my kids. It seems, however, that God isn’t finished speaking to me through this kitty about… relationship!
As I have previously documented, Dundee hasn’t always liked me. I was the one to take him to the vet, etc., and his habit whenever I came around was to run and hide. Now that he is forced to live in the same house as me, he’s slowly beginning to understand that I’m not the monster he made me out to be; and slowly but surely, he’s hiding less and interacting more with us.
One of the changes I made as soon as he came to live with us was I dramatically reduced the number of cat treats he was getting from 1 large box a week, to 1 large box every 6 weeks. That meant he got a healthy handful morning and night instead of all day long. I did this for a number of reasons. He was grossly overweight, his coat was dry and rough, he drank excessive amounts of water, was prone to bladder infections, IBS, etc. Now I don’t know if the treats were responsible for all of those things, but in the past 6 weeks of fewer cat treats, Dundee has lost a bit of weight, he looks healthier, he’s coat shines, he’s more active, and his IBS seems to be more stable. Oh, and he’s not drinking as much and hasn’t had a bladder infection…
Dundee wasn’t overly happy with his reduction in treats, but he has adjusted. He knows when he’s going to get them, and guess when he comes out and asks to be petted… Yup! In the mornings after his breakfast, and just before bedtime. Funny thing: Those two times correspond 100% with the times we give him cat treats… Imagine that “coincidence”!
I so wish I could make Dundee understand that I’m not his enemy, that everything “negative” in his life that was related to me was actually done for his own good; but you can’t reason with an old cat, and so I just try and enjoy he few minutes of love he does give me. And I try to ignore the real reason he comes…
It all reminds me of our relationship with God. The Bible says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 ESV). God longs to be with us! And He wants us to want to be with Him, too! That’s why He stands at the door and knocks! He longs for us to understand that the things we ask for aren’t always what’s best for us, and that when He withholds on our requests, it is done out of love because He cares overall for our well being. And mostly, I think it must make Him so sad that we only come to Him to beg for “treats” — to beg Him to change our circumstances. He would love for us to come and sit at His feet, letting Him pour out His love to us because we love Him! Not because we want what He has to offer…
Remember, the Bible tells us:
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalms 62:8 ESV). When we sit at His feet, not because we have prayer requests, but because we want to, He is our refuge. We come to understand that we can trust in Him at all times. That He wants us to pour out our hearts before Him!
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV) When we seek God’s face, not because we are trying to get Him to pour out more “treats” for us, we receive His strength!
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2 ESV) Notice that this verse doesn’t tell us to devote ourselves to prayer to receive gifts from God, but rather, in order to be watchful, to be thankful!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18 ESV) Finally, yes, this verse does tell us to present God with “all kinds of prayers and requests”, but notice that these aren’t selfish requests. The verse goes on to tell us to keep on praying for all the Lord’s people!
God wants us to spend time with Him… Not because we are trying to turn His hand… But because He loves us, He loves being with us, He wants a relationship with us!
I don’t know what your prayer habits are, but if somehow God speaks to you through a big, orange kitty named Dundee, reminding you that He wants to be with you even when you’re not asking Him for things, reminding you that sometimes God withholds what we ask for when it is for our own good, then this devotional will have accomplished its purpose.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.