Lessons from the Shadows (Part 1)

On a sunny day, my wife decided to take out some garbage.  She gathered the bag, sealed it and proceeded to walk down the stairs.  When she went outside and opened the garbage can lid, a creature so ferocious jumped out and placed terror into her eyes.  This creature that jumped out, looked at her and ran into the shadows.  The terrifying creature that placed such horror into my wife was a small black cat.  Okay, I exaggerated a bit, but she did get scared for a moment.

When I came home that evening, my wife told me the story.  I couldn’t help but laugh then said, “Don’t feed it.  We live in an apartment and can’t have a pet.”  My wife showed much more compassion than I did, at first.  She said, “We can’t let it starve.”  We then had a short(ish) discussion where we plead with each other our cases.  Both of us agreed, that because my wife was highly allergic to cats, the cat couldn’t come in the apartment, but just leaving it there to starve would be inhumane.  The agreement was to feed the cat outside, give it water and see where it went from there.

However, when we wanted to feed the cat, it didn’t want to come near to us.  It was very afraid of any person that approached it.  It was then we noticed something, she only had one eye.  Not only was this cat scared and hungry but was also disabled.  Wow. How did it survive outside?  Did it have a previous owner that abused it?  Questions of this sort flooded our minds.

After some time, a friend of mine gave me a bowl so the cat didn’t have to eat out of a can.  I explained that it wouldn’t come near us but would place the bowl out and see what happens.  During one of those evenings, my younger son and I were watching the cat eat near the bushes.  He asked me, “Why won’t the cat come near to us?  We’re nice to it.”  I was then prompted to understand a concept that God needed me to understand for some time.

I sat with my son and explained that we were wooing it.  I told him, “We are gently approaching the cat, showing how much we love it and want it to be a part of our family”.  My son looked at me with tender eyes and I continued to explain, “This is the same way God deals with us.  He woos us, lovingly and gently approaches us even though we are scared and hungry.  He places His food in front of us and all we have to do is eat it.  Does that mean we are part of His family?  No.  It just means that He cares for us and wants us to become part of His family.  Just like the cat isn’t yet part of our family because we don’t have a relationship with it, we are not part of God’s family until we have a relationship with Him.”

Did you get it?  God is wooing us.  He gently presents His love toward us even though we are scared and hungry.  The best description I can muster is a young man who wants to go out with a young girl.  The young man does things to make her smile.  He shows interest in things she likes.  The same holds true for God.  He says things to catch our attention positively.  He shows interest in our desires in this life.  The question is – are we listening?  Are we responsive to His calling?

Scripture says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  When translated this verse says, “While we were still sinning, causing damage to our lives, living the opposite of what God intended.  Even while we were doing this, Jesus Christ dies for us.” (J.D. Clemente expanded edition).  Not only is God wooing us, but He is wooing us while we are still doing things are offensive to Him.  Let that sink into your mind.  You are so loved by God that no matter what you are doing, He still wants to have a relationship with you.  Isn’t that different than the “old guy in the sky who is waiting for me to do something wrong, so that he can throw a lightning bolt at me”?

There is more to this story….for now just remember, God loves you.  Listen for his wooing.

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