Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
Over the past several years, our now eleven-year-old daughter has been persistent in asking for a cat. My wife and I tried to placate her with fish. This worked for a while, but she finally exclaimed, "Daddy, you can't hold fish!" So a few months ago, I was speaking to a friend who is a veterinarian, and I told him we were looking for a kitten. Then just before Christmas, he phoned and said that they had a little kitten in that had been treated badly. Well, I took my daughter down to see the kitten, and the moment she saw it, that little black cat was coming home.
So we went to the local pet shop and bought all the things one would need for a kitten. So Gomez, as we eventually called him, came to live with us. Because he had been so abused, he hid underneath the sofa or any new hiding place that he could find. We were getting concerned that our little cat didn't realize that we had his best interests at heart. We wanted to have a relationship with him and to love him. However, his response was to run away. Then one day, he disappeared, and while we searched everywhere in the house, we concluded that he must have slipped out a door. Three days later, while my wife was putting some bed linen away, she found the cat and the three days of mess. Gomez scooted downstairs and hid underneath the sofa. Eventually, we phoned our vet friend, and he came over with some chicken pieces. He persuaded him to come out, and we put him in a training cage. So over the next few weeks, Gomez was fed and petted and talked to. The training cage has been put away now, and the other night, Gomez was sitting on my daughter's lap, sleeping. He has finally understood that we are safe.
People will often visit our churches. They come to us, nervous, frightened, or sometimes battered and bruised by life's problems. They do not realize that we want a relationship with them. They don't realize God wants a relationship with them. Obviously, we can't have training cages, but are our churches places where these people can find love and friendship? Just as Gomez discovered that we wanted only to love him, eventually, through tenderness, people will discover the same through us. We may be the tool that our Father God wants to use to express His love to a bruised and battered world.
Prayer: Father God, there are so many abused, fearful, and lonely people in this world. May our churches be warm, caring, safe places where these souls can be ministered to. In the name of Jesus, Who loves us all tenderly, we pray. Amen.