I’ve believed in Jesus for all of my life & thought I had accepted him as my Lord and savior but the problem was I didn’t exactly walk daily with Jesus Christ. It wasn’t anything for me to admit that I was a sinner and speak of how it was bad but I never thought of defining sin & just perceived sins as specific things you shouldn’t do but did anyways. Did you notice the difference in that statement? Sin is our nature, we as man are born into Sin and fall short of being worthy the treasures of God while sins are the many differing manifestations of Sin. This is the reason why one sinner is no worse than the next sinner; we are all of the same worldly nature that is Sin.
So I thought I had it all taken care of and awoke everyday to repeat my habitual patterns of sin daily and pray forgiveness nightly. I wasn’t a bad guy but I was ignorant of what it meant to walk with Jesus. In order for me to clearly define the purpose of this testimony I need you to think deeply of the power of God and his works. Not just the daily tragedies we hear of or read about daily but the overwhelming love & undeterred mercy God has for every single one of his children. Just overlook my usage of the term “his” it’s a place holder for my lack of writing creativity when emphasizing “we” as children of God…okay so let me tell you a little story real quick.
About 10 years ago I found a cat that would hang out by our house. To my wife’s dismay I would let the cat in at night and this led to the cat waiting for me at the back door to let her in every evening. My feline boarding service included our queen size bed as well which is where my wife’s dismay came about. Now this was the most loving cat I’d ever seen and it was a stray which made it even more crazy that this cat was so much like a puppy, just the most loving cat I’d ever seen. One day my son and daughter came home and said that the neighbor was complaining that we have taken ownership of his cat. Long story short, I would let the cat out in the morning so it could go home and no harm done. Well shortly thereafter the neighbors moved out and that evening I see the tiny head and glowing eyes at the back door. They just abandoned the cat so at this point I took official ownership and she officially became known as Nonnie. It didn’t take long for Nonnie and I to become best friends and without question she became a member of our family.
Nonnie aged until eventually passing and without getting into the details I had to watch her in agony for a short period until getting her to a 24 hour vet. 3.5 hours later my only option was to have her put down but I was at least able to have her pass on peacefully. Well, my heart was completely shattered and I just didn’t know how to handle this because I had no idea it was going to hit me so hard. Without ever saying it, in my mind I just visioned myself as an old wrinkled guy with this cat in my lap. Death wasn’t in any way something that I thought about, it was to realistic. So my grieving was in stages:
1. Visually replaying the image of her struggling for life was deep sadness for me. I began praying to God because I had never felt this way. Several times I would apologize to God because I just didn’t understand why I felt this bad and felt as though I was wrong.
2. Before we get into the second stage I want to mention that I’m diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum disorder. A broad diagnoses with milder symptoms than seen in other forms of the disorder which are often times accompanied with other challenges. My worse challenge is simply accepting change so this created a scenario for me that involved change and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Finally I was able to enter the second stage of dearly missing her. Years of daily routine activities were hard for me to do since a major part of these routines was no longer there. I didn’t want to sleep since she couldn’t lay with me or watch TV, not that she watched TV with me but that she wasn’t in the house any longer as I watched. This was change I didn’t want to accept because I loved this cat so much as she did me. We didn’t have to talk as I was just able to pet and hug her…that’s it and it’s gone.
3. The last stage was getting to the point where I could just recall all of the happy moments she brought each of us as a family and finally enjoy those memories.
So you’re now asking yourself what God has to do with my cat. Well I’ll need to explain a little more about myself and finally how this all ties together. I’ve always been a very compassionate guy when it came to certain aspects. Think of the most emotional movie you’ve ever seen that brought you to tears. My wife is good at this and doesn’t understand the emotions in these movies don’t hit me the same way they do her but turn on YouTube and I can be tearing within minutes. A child becoming overrun by their emotions when surprised by their father who had been deployed overseas, a dog whimpering and rubbing all over their owner who returns home from being deployed overseas. My emotions don’t react to the independent but more to the dependent. I can recall times while I would be driving down the road and thinking about how I am sensitive when it comes to children and animals and realizing how thankful I am that God made me this way. Now to clarify, I am a meat eater and believe in hunting for food as I grew up around this. As a child my father always taught us that if you didn’t have a kill shot then you don’t have a shot. We always went out of our way to try and prevent causing suffering even to wild game. Granted I wasn’t an avid hunter myself as I didn’t care to partake in the activity as my heart wasn’t in it but enjoyed the idea that my dad and brother could enjoy it. When it came to domesticated animals I saw a creature that looked to me for food, shelter, protection, and love. Most importantly it took only love for them to love you unconditionally, a trait that I have always admired and we find elsewhere. So as small as it may seem, Nonnie was a major part of my life and I truly loved her as our family pet.
In my worst time of this I found my self opening or better yet turning on my bible to find passages about pets in heaven and if you’ve ever looked you already know that you won’t find that phrase in the bible. In doing so I found myself just reading verse after verse and beginning a true faith walk with Christ though. What began as me apologizing for feeling so deeply hurt transformed into emotional conversations between God and I. Real conversations that I never experienced before and the better I came to know God the better I would feel. I would have a relapse then do it all over again but this continued going on until my true comfort became not from Jesus but was Jesus and he cared…truly cared. I still didn’t understand if Nonnie was loved by God as he loved me. Did she matter, why bother with creatures that just return to dust after becoming so dear to Gods children. Obviously free will and salvation are not relevant to animals so does that mean the animals are irrelevant?
Purpose…God has given every single one of us purpose. To live that purpose or not is a choice of our own free will. Once we begin to develop that relationship that God longs for we begin to struggle with our nature or Sin and God pulls us in as our heart has chosen to live our purpose. As almighty as God is his compassionate love for us is the most powerful love still so with our choice to follow, God will see us through any struggle. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that we may live. It’s kind of like…have you ever heard of design by chaos? We look at the night sky and get encapsulated by the peace & beauty but at a different perspective we see asteroids crashing into planetary bodies, black holes, gamma ray burst. Where would we be if these things didn’t happen? God creates with purpose therefore all of God’s creations have purpose. He told me so. So during your struggling times one of God’s creations is there before you to live out its purpose. Nothing is to big but friends I’m here to tell you that nothing is to small. Don’t let a worldly perspective of size make you question God’s desire to comfort you, love you, hold you…
Let’s read Isaiah 65:25 NKJV
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.”
Now it’s my understanding that Isaiah is speaking of the millennial earth so I would sometimes begin questioning if my conversations with God were really just conversations between my self. I had a great conversation with my brother one night and we were just shooting verses at one another preacher style. Now he never asked me about my cat but I believe he called because something just told him to…the Holy Spirit is powerful. Anyways, while we were talking he mentioned one of his plans he taught in bible study about blessings. In the sense that if your wife lives in ungodliness then she’s not a blessing from God. He wasn’t saying that one should break their family apart by any means it was just an example of how its popular for people to throw that phrase out there without thinking that many times our decision making is made without once asking God’s guidance and seeking out his purpose for us. I replied in agreement and added but sometimes we must ask ourselves if we’re the blessing. Maybe there’s a reason why we are somewhere specific in our life regardless of how or what got us there. You see we can’t get our selves in a situation that God can’t handle. As a Godly man and Godly husband we take a walk in our faith and have God help us lead our wife to her own walk in faith. God works in ways we can’t imagine but we must listen and let God envelope us in a comfort so great it could only be the hand of our Heavenly Father.
During another spout of sadness I asked God “Father I know only you can help me feel better. It’s my time speaking to you that I’m comforted. I don’t know if I’m wrong for wanting to see my cat again but I just truly had a bond with her and I don’t know or understand why it’s hurting me so much.” At this time God said to me “do you truly believe I create to not love? Why would you be wrong to love what I have created? She is comforted and running in the Heavens. You will see her again.” I saw Jesus holding her. Don’t let this go by you…the comfort I felt, the compassion was real!
Then it dawned on me that all this time while growing up and hearing about pets and animals not going to heaven. Why has it been preached that God creates without purpose or love for his own creation when Gods word speaks quite the opposite. Yes, man was created in God’s image and the word is anchored for our salvation but who are we to devalue the rest of his creation. I then realized that my deep compassion for these creatures was shared with God and that’s a beautiful thing.
God knew my compassion because he blessed me with it. God didn’t break my heart but he knew it would break before I did. The conversation with my brother now made sense. The husband or wife living a purpose to help guide the other toward a relationship with Jesus…they serve God’s purpose. The chaos within deep space is serving God’s purpose. God knew only he through our glorious Savior could comfort me from that heartbreak. God knew I would open the written word and begin looking for something that would lead me on a journey that would forever change my walk with Christ. You see, Nonnie served God’s purpose and God did in fact give me a cat.