I have two cats that are indoor-outdoor. While I’d prefer that Max and Blackjack be full-time housecats, all attempts (and there have been many) have resulted in fur flying and mournful meowing. My feline babies are positively miserable with around the clock indoor confinement. Sweet Max once even fell into a literal depression over it.
My major concern with their love for the great outdoors is that coyotes are common to our area. They’ve called this land home for many years, but we live in one of the top five fastest growing counties in America. Uncontrolled, overzealous and greedy development has encroached on the woodsy territory of local wildlife. Coyotes, along with deer, wild hogs, foxes, snakes and raccoons are trying to hold onto whatever woods are left, many that happen to border on neighborhoods.
“Okay, you guys,” I said during a speech to my cats about the nocturnal hunting of coyotes. “Here’s the deal—you can play outside during the day, but you MUST be in this house at night.”
I said this as though my adventurous, roaming, curious cats would listen, nod and reply, “Yes ma’am, we’ll be home by dark.”
Thankfully, our house doesn’t back up to any woods, but this didn’t erase my fears about Wile E. Coyote’s presence in the community--so like anything and everything that weighs on my heart, I took this concern to the Lord. Firmly believing that animals know and obey (yes, even cats) the voice of their Creator, I asked God to please tell Max and Blackjack to come home at night.
A crazy prayer? Some think so, but here’s what I know: ever since I laid this burden before the Lord, my felines have given up their alley cat ways. Whereas they used to pull all nighters and take hunting expeditions that lasted for days, they now come in at night. They use the litter box and happily relax with the family. Not only are they in overnight, they’re spending more time inside during the day. Sometimes they lounge inside for the better part of the day, even though the pet door is open and they’re free to venture out.
Do I think this is an answer to my prayer? Absolutely, and I love to tell the story because I think it confirms something I really believe:
If it matters to us, it matters to God.
Some people don’t appear to see it that way, though. They listen to the Cat Story with a look of tender amusement, much the way one smiles at a four-year-old describing an encounter with leprechauns and pixies. Behind the smile, I suspect they’re aghast that I would bother the Lord with such a request and actually believe He answered it.
I recall someone once saying that she hardly thinks God pays attention to the personal concerns of her life, as they’re much too small in the grand picture of this hurting world.
Now--why would she think such a thing about the God Who has numbered our hairs (Matthew 10:30), records our tears (Psalms 56:8) and counts our every step? (Job 14:16)
If God couldn’t be bothered with our every concern—if we had to stick to an “approved” prayer list—His Word would not instruct us to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). We wouldn’t be told to cast all of our anxieties upon Him. (1 Peter 5: 7). We would not be welcomed to approach His throne with confidence (Hebrews 4:16, I john 5: 14-15).
Being invited to pray is such a privilege, and I personally find it to be one of my greatest comforts in life. No matter what the concern, I am always soothed to know that I can talk it over with the Lord. To know we can pray is to know we have hope.
Some may scoff and say there is a perfectly good reason for my cats’ behavior. Actually, I agree—there is a perfectly good reason and it’s explained in Isaiah 58:9:
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and he will say: Here am I.” (NIV)
Or, you could have titled it Cat Tales.
Titles are important. If they arouse your curiosity, or make you smile, they're more likely to draw you into the story. I wrote a chapter for my book that was about evangelism. Am I creative, or what? The title was so generic, I wasn't even interested in reading the article. On a rewrite, I used the phrase "dump trucks, hoboes and Jesus," and suddenly I had a title. What do dump trucks and hoboes have to do with Jesus? The only way to find out is to read the article (posted on here.)
I find myself clicking on articles in here with titles that arouse my curiosity. There's always a danger of getting too clever, of course. But, generic titles like Evangelism, Faith or Suffering get generic responses.