I’d like to share a story. It’s a true story and it really did happen to me. A few years ago, I was loading garbage into the bed of my pickup. While I was inside bagging up another load, a feral cat climbed into my pickup and started rooting around looking for food. When I came back outside with more trash, I surprised that little feral cat, and he shot out of the back of my truck like his tail was on fire. Once he escaped, he just sat down a safe distance away, looking at me as if to say, “HA! You didn’t get me!!!” That’s when I realized that cat was in serious trouble. Somehow, while he was digging through my trash, he managed to get his head stuck in an empty scotch tape roll.
For that reason, I started calling him “Scotchy.”
As you can see, the tape roll didn’t seem to bother him at all. But I knew something that Scotchy was blissfully unaware of ….. that thing stuck around his neck represented a terminal condition for Scotchy. I also knew that Scotchy was completely helpless to save himself from his predicament. Feral cat or not, I decided I needed to help him. I decided to lure Scotchy into my kitchen, so I could corner him and get that tape roll off his head.
And of course, everyone knows that the best way to lure a feral cat into one’s kitchen is with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
So, I bought some chicken, ate my dinner, and from the left-overs, I made a trail of KFC onto my back porch and into my kitchen. Then I sneaked outside and watched from a distance. It didn’t take long for Scotchy to follow that trail, right into my kitchen.
I made myself ready for fierce combat; I put on a heavy coat and gloves to keep Scotchy from clawing me into little tiny pieces. Once armored up, I tip-toed up to my porch, went in my kitchen, and closed the door behind me.
As you can imagine, the moment I stepped inside and closed the door, Scotchy started growling and hissing and arching his back. I closed the distance, bit-by-bit, and Scotchy only became more desperate. He began running frantically from corner to corner, dodging me any way he could. Finally, I cornered him and was able to get my hands on him. Scotchy was fighting and clawing like a panther – he was absolutely convinced that I was there to kill him. I struggled to hold him in one hand and pull the tape roll off with the other, all while doing everything possible to keep him from hurting himself … and from clawing a big chunk out of me.
To this day I can’t explain how, but suddenly the tape roll was in my hand and Scotchy was free. I opened the kitchen door and Scotchy ran out. Once again, he only ran a short distance and then stopped and turned to look back at me. He just sat there, gloating, as if to say “I won, you couldn’t kill me.”
It occurred to me that my experience with Scotchy is very much like our experience with God. The entire human race has a terminal condition and we, like Scotchy, are completely powerless to help ourselves. In His unimaginable mercy, God lovingly comes into our lives and does whatever is necessary (no matter how painful) to remove the things that threaten to destroy us. When God begins His loving, merciful pruning process, it’s terrifying, it’s painful, we LITERALLY fear that we will die. In those terrifying times, our finite human minds can’t see the bigger picture. All we can sense is excruciating pain and indescribable fear. We, like Scotchy, will often fight for our very lives, unable to recognize that God is performing a freeing work.
My prayer is that God will help me to recognize His sovereign, intervening hand more quickly. And rather than resisting, fighting, running, doing everything possible to avoid the terror, that I will quietly submit and willingly declare, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” We are but clay in the potter’s hands and our best life comes when we allow HIS molding most completely.