Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A 'Moving' Experience

I gaze out the kitchen window for a final look at the gnarled old apple trees and the quiet woods that border the yard. Saying good-bye to familiar surroundings and beginning our journey to our new home fills me and my family with a mixture of emotions.

We eagerly anticipate our new house and the new places we will explore. We look forward to meeting new people and the friendships that will blossom.

But anxiety nibbles at our enthusiasm at the thought of new jobs and new schools. We ache for all that is familiar. And, although we may return for a visit, we'll no longer share the daily joys and burdens of our old friends.

When we moved from our country home to a small town, the Lord used an ordinary stray cat to teach me that we can leave all these cares with Him.

Black with white tuxedo-like markings, Tennessee reminded me of an old cartoon character. Apparently ownerless, he wandered freely through the woods and fields that bordered our home. He was leery and distant, visiting us strictly for meals that he preferred we leave at the edge of the woods.

Tennessee frequently sported battle injuries-- a split ear, a ragged scratch or a missing patch of fur. Over time he lost the sight in one eye and developed a permanent limp. He thwarted all our attempts to capture or tame him so that we could take him to the vet.

The old curmudgeon gradually spent more and more time close by.  His aloof attitude seemed to be only a cover up for a lonely cat who had never found anyone he could trust.    

About five years after befriending Tennessee, we found out we would be moving. Along with the many major decisions and challenges to be worked out, I wondered what I would do about him.

He now ate all his meals in the long-unused chicken shed at the edge of the yard—his favorite retreat from the weather. I wanted to move him with us, but Tennessee remained a wild animal, not a domestic pet.

In 1 Peter 5:7 we are told, "Leave all your worries with God, because He cares for you." (GNT) So I took Tennessee to the Lord and waited for Him to act.

One evening the people who would be moving into our home came to get some measurements. After taking them through the house and garage, we stepped out back. Tennessee was nowhere around, and I assumed he had run off when he heard us coming.

He didn't show up the next day either, though that wasn't unusual. Occasionally Tennessee would leave for a day or so and come back with a few new scars.

After three days, however, I grew concerned. We searched the area and asked the neighbors, but no one had seen him.

Each time I passed our kitchen window I would scan the yard and woods, looking for Tennessee. As days turned to weeks, I missed Tennessee very much but realized that the Lord had answered my prayer.

Compared to coping with new schools and new jobs, a stray cat may seem like a petty thing to bother the Lord with. But God knows the cares of our hearts. He used Tennessee to teach me that I truly can leave all my worries with Him—the big decisions and the small concerns.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Originally published in  VISTA—MARCH 1994