Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Gospel According to Cats

I am trying to leash train my cat.

Don't ask.

No, really, there just isn't a good explanation. Trust me.

She was quite calm and compliant as I put her in the harness, but the mood changed dramatically when I set her down on the floor. She frantically crouched down and crawled backwards trying to get away from the leash. I suspect she figured that if she got into the harness head first, she must have to back out of the thing.

It was hilarious. Okay, now we see the real reason behind my trying this.

I didn't get hissing or growling, but I didn't get purring either. Walking with the leash didn't happen but she did explore outside for a bit. Curiously, she spent most of the leash time sitting on my lap. Normally this cat is not a lap cat; as she generally prefers to sit on my shoulder.

All in all, it went well as I got only one dirty look. We may try it again in the future.

I suspect she sat in my lap because she didn't feel safe with the unfamiliar. The ironic thing is she was safe because of the leash.

I was involved in a strange face book conversation where a participant insisted that God acted immorally when He granted us free will, because He knew we would get ourselves into trouble and cause pain and suffering in the world.

That was a first. It sounds like the circular reasoning of a child: "You knew I was going to hurt myself when I fell off the slide, so why didn't you stop me from breaking the rule about not standing on it?"

In fact, I think I heard a kindergartner say that once while I was putting a bandage on his knee. My response: "Go and stand on the slide, no more."

I like to let our cat out into the backyard every now and then. There is so much entertainment there for both of us. I know that being outside is not safe for cats so I put her on a leash. She doesn't happen to know it is possible to be outside without a leash so she adapts and enjoys the smells, sights and sounds she finds outside. She has a little bit of free will, with a whole lot of loving safety.

Think about our confusion regarding freedoms and expectations. God does not put us on a leash, but He does give us His law for our own safety. We certainly can't earn our way to heaven by following the law, that bus has already left the station. However, following the law will result in the blessing of a happier life. Even though we chafe against the law and try to back out of it, we know it is a loving good thing from the heavenly Father who cares for us, dearly. We are free of the burden of the law and free to obey its tenents.

How strange is it, then, when we are out in the world, held lovingly by the protection of our God, that we are afraid to use our freedom to serve him. My cat sat on my lap for the duration of our outdoor adventure. I prefer to sit snuggly in God's lap, instead of venturing out into His world.

Miss Maggie will learn how to explore the backyard while on a leash. She will get used to the hug of the harness and the limits of her range. I suspect she will even learn how to explore without getting tangled around the table and chairs.

May her courage serve to encourage me to get out of my Father's lap and venture into His world; I am in the harness of God's love and tethered to the blessing of His law, all while being showered in His grace. It's time to get moving.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4