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  • Writer's pictureRachel Thornsberry

Trustworthy Calling




A Short Reflection in Two Parts



PART ONE: THE PROBLEM WITH CATS


Three years ago, my family saved a stray and starving cat – Muffy Jean. In a matter of days, she went from drinking out of puddles to sleeping in my bed and eating wet cat food four times a day. And when I say wet food, I mean wet food exclusively. And yes, it is more expensive, but please understand –


Dry kibble is for fools.

We do not eat dry kibble.

Do not think about bringing dry kibble into this house you poor confused people.


Anyway…


In the morning she eats a bit, goes outside, chases birds, sunbathes, antagonizes the neighbor’s cat Marge (who we hate almost as much as dry kibble) and when she’s tired, she comes back inside, eats her weight in chicken and naps until she’s ready to go out again. She “lives the life” so to speak. We give her everything she needs and then some – medication, food, grooming, toys, cuddles whether she wants them or not…Her existence flipped from one of certain death to one of pampered provision. And perhaps I’m thinking too much into this “owner/pet” relationship but given the circumstances it seems to me that Muffy is indebted to us beyond her own comprehension. And this fact should, justifiably, bind her to unconditional obedience. I mean, people - Come. On. We go above and beyond to give her the good life, at no cost to her, simply because we decided to love a scrawny underfed wanderer. When we say jump her response should be, “how high?” And yet – and yet!

A cat will be a cat.


And Muffy is, most certainly, a cat.


Now, for the most part, Muffy is very good at listening to us and readily comes inside when called. We never let her stay out at night for fear of cars, feral strays, and storms. Sometimes we see hawks circling or it’s excruciatingly hot/cold, so we call her in, and she trots right up to us. But there are days when, rather than trust the voice of her saviors, she stretches her ungrateful little paws, yawns, and deliberately struts the other direction. And I understand I should not be personally offended by an eight-pound animal, but I am positively fuming in those moments.

And I have a right! (Please tell me I have a right.) Because we have given her everything. And we have, not once, done something to bring harm to her. Any decision we make regarding Muffy is solely for the benefit of Muffy because we love the dang cat! Therefore, she should have the common sense to come to us when called. To trust that our thoughts towards her have not changed and that we, even now, still desire her good. Even if it means coming in when Marge is clearly looking to start a fight.


But that’s the problem with cats.


They don’t think that way.


They follow their own instincts… and wind up at the vet because Marge is five pounds heavier and still has all her teeth.




PART TWO: THE CONNECTION



I realize I’m harping on my dysfunctional pet/owner relationship, but I do believe there is an aspect of the dilemma reflected in our relationship with God. For God has given us everything. The breath in our lungs, the sun on our face, the very fabric of our ability to exist is indebted to him. And if that were not enough God decides to take it further. He gives us relationship with himself, salvation from certain death, and gifts upon gifts upon gifts simply because desires to love us. His creation. His treasured possession – and just in case no one has told you, you are treasured in the eyes of the cosmos’s creator.


Think on that for a moment…


Good?


So here we are. A people indebted to God beyond our own comprehension. And for those of us who have been met with that mind blowing realization that has led to a change of heart and adoption into his family, we even more so, are indebted beyond all recognition. We were walking in a death, in a debt, that perhaps we didn’t fully realize, but even then, in his goodness he made our situation clear to us. He took our understanding and intentionally, carefully, expanded our minds to grasp a bit more the reality around us, the story we were walking through, the hope for our fulfillment. And yet – and yet!


People will be people.


And we, certainly, are people.


I am reminded of the Israelites after God rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. Through a series of extravagant, God-sized, events they are freed from their bondage and brought into a new land. Their lives were fully indebted to God, and if that weren’t enough God decides, “Israel, I’m going to make a promise to you. An agreement. I will be your God. I will love you, sacrifice for you, provide for you, flourish you, and commit myself fully to you. If you follow my laws this is how you can be close to me.”


What kind of God makes an agreement like that? What God has need of people? The answer is: none. But what God has want of people? This one apparently. But yet, Israel so easily forgets. And the story goes on to show time and time again how this people, this chosen people, fail their good master. They choose to walk the other direction and forsake his good intentions. Ignore his voice.


So, then there is Jesus.


The salvation for these people. The redemption for their wrongdoing – the salvation for our wrongdoing…


Because without Jesus, we’re sunk. We’re wandering in circles without realizing we’ve trodden the territory before. We wind up spinning in the never-ending carousel of fending for ourselves with limited understanding of how life and goodness actually work. Because the world around us is screaming about all kinds of avenues to being “satisfied” about how “trusting” that heart inside you will always lead to joy (if you can just overlook the 5,000 times it burned you last month). But


What happens if I try speaking with him?

What happens if I give him my reins?

What if I trust the man who claims to be God is wiser than I am?

What if he’s telling the truth?


And I realize not everyone reading this will believe the claims I’m making (thanks if you’re still reading! That’s quite kind!) and it isn’t within my power to change your mind. But for those of us who call ourselves his children. Who have tasted and seen the goodness of God, who can look back on our lives and see he is, in fact, telling the truth and there is a scarlet thread of “coincidences” that somehow have made it a point to lead us to this place…and desire to lead us further…


For those of us who know his voice. My prayer is that we will look back on what he has done for his people- for us. From Israel to now, I pray we will see his faithfulness to lead through trials, to deliver us from evil, and to commit himself to the purifying and refinement of our being that we may know what it means to be called a child of God. To be loved to such a point that it spills out onto those who happen to cross our path and changes the very nature of our existence. I pray we would trust this good good God and when we hear his voice, whether it calls us to go, stay, rest, or try again, that we would listen. Because he has proven that he is trustworthy. And not only trustworthy, but exceedingly committed to our ultimate good which is to know him as Lord and Father. He took these wandering starving strays and gave them a home. Gave us everything.


May we trust him to stay true to his nature and let him guide our decisions.

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