Last night the gentle songs of the crickets were pierced by a shriek and cry that sent us bolt upright in our bed. We knew the sound and jumped out of bed and began seeking and searching for cats. We have 4 cats and 2 dogs, and as all animal lovers know, they are such an intricate part of our family. We went outside, all three of us, one to the back of the house, one to the front, and one to the side. The shrieks must have frightened our cats immensely for there were none to be seen. Slowly we began to see white and black begin to emerge from the thick brush, Ponyo and Mo were safe. I sent my husband and son back to bed, for I was off work the next day. I sat up in my chair to keep vigil and watch for the other two cats. Both our dogs sleep inside with us, so I knew we were safe. Now you may wonder what the big deal is, but we live surrounded by woods and see foxes and deer on a fairly regular basis. So far the foxes have just brought us delight and joy, but in the back of our minds, we knew that there was always the possibility that one of our cats could become prey. Within an hour little Tucky showed up, so now there were 3 out of 4. After awhile I began to fall asleep in my chair, so I went back to bed after looking for Gillie and calling for him a few more times.
All of this drama reminded me of how it says that The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep who are in the fold, and goes out to search for the 1 who has wandered off. It reminds me of The Father of the Prodigal son, who kept watch for his son from the front porch each night, waiting and praying for him to return. When he sees the son far off, he leaps off the porch and runs to him. God is like that. He keeps vigil over each one of us. Did you know that each child has an angel that sits before the Father? Let me share the passage with you. Matthew 18:10-14
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]
Ninety-nine Plus One
12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
O, Behold the Heart of Your Heavenly Father, how precious each one of us is to Him. He is constantly seeking to save those who are lost, those who have wandered, those who have seen fierce trials and pain. Most of us run away from pain, but Jesus ran toward it. He knew the death He would face before He even created mankind on earth. He knew we would rebel, we would fall into sin, and He knew what it would cost Him (Ephesians 1:3-12). God knew He would have to sacrifice His One and Only Son, but Jesus chose this destiny because even before He had created us, He loved us, and would do anything to rescue us. What a benevolent and beautiful heart, our Father in Heaven has for us.
Now, just to sum up the cat story, I found my precious Gillie cat curled up on the back porch in the wee hours of the morning. Sometime between 3 and 5, he must have crawled up on to the porch. When I picked him up, he let out a whimper, and I could see that one of his two front legs was hurting him. I swaddled him in a blanket and set him gently on a chair to heal.
As Christ is our example, let us run toward the pain we see in other people’s lives. Let us keep vigil over them and pray for them. Now we all know there are people, even in the Body of Christ, that we don’t seem to jive with. They rub us the wrong way, and we rub them the wrong way, too. But all things aside, if they are struggling or suffering, we are to run toward the pain and care for them in their need and struggle. I have seen my feelings toward people in the Body, that I don’t get along with, change drastically, by praying for them, serving them, submitting to their authority and honoring them. So, like Jesus. let us keep vigil over one another, let us run toward the pain and comfort all who are in need. God says in 1 John 3+4, that His love is known to the world, by how much they see us loving one another in His Kingdom. Let us love one another, so Jesus is Seen by all.