Sitting in my treehouse reading a book to a litter of kittens. This was not an unordinary thing for me to do as a little girl. When I was nine years old we obtained our first cat named Lulu. For the next few years, Lulu would ensure that we would never go “kittenless”. As a child, this was alright with me. I was pretty much obsessed with cats at the time.
Many of my childhood memories surround various balls of cuteness. From a cat named Buffy who would give her life to save her kittens, to a cat named Templeton who loved to eat corn and also thought he was a dog…I could probably write a book on the out of the ordinary adventures that unfolded throughout the years. And I was always certain that there was no one who existed who loved cats more than I did. In fact, I was also confident that there was not a cat that did not love me.
Until Aaron came along. While in college, I would meet my future husband. Then…I would meet his cat. The first time I saw her (yes, “her”, in spite of the male spelling of her name…long story)…The first time I saw Aaron I was sure that the “cat loverness” in me would instantly cause her to love me. I was very wrong.
For the next several years, while dating Jason, Aaron never ceased to remind me who was the first woman in his life. She made me rethink all the years that I had been an avid cat lover as a child. She was…let’s see…Evil.
Many times, she cornered me on a flight of stairs threatening to attack if I walked past her. She would “appear” in a doorway and stare maliciously when Jason and I watched a movie. Her growling threats were ominous and her extremely rare quirks were unmatched. I must say, to date Jason, was to endure his cat.
Most newlyweds worry about finances, mortgages, or having enough furniture. I worried about sleeping arrangements. Many nights I would feel lurking paws and beaming eyes hovering over my pillow. I imagined she was pondering my accidental suffocation. Over time, these nightly “meetings” dissipated and she settled for a place at the foot of the bed.
It was as though she knew she had lost. She was no longer the “woman in his life”. Her situation did not change. In fact, it became even more out of her control once our daughter was born. She gave up. The final white flag was raised. The ominous creature who was banned from a local veterinarian office years prior, was now softening into a gentle, although still very quirky, friend. Aaron would not only become a perfect household pet, she would become an almost necessary part of our family. I found myself slowly, slowly, slowly bonding with her.
Like Aaron’s early territorial battle, our own situations can become rough, to say the least. They become out of our control. They can cause us to feel helpless. How often do we beg God to take us out of the storm? How often do we pray that the burden be lifted? And how often does God say “not yet”? Many times, He just seems to remain silent.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” – Matthew 8:23-24
Sound familiar? You follow Jesus faithfully, as did the disciples. You spend time with him. You go where he goes. Then a storm comes and Jesus decides to sleep. Why? Why is it that the God who set mountains into place and hung planets in space does not offer a little help once in a while?
My friend, please note. God is never silent. He is never unaware of your needs. He is never ignorant of your hurt. And for goodness sake, he never refuses to offer help. Then what possible explanation can we give for the times He seemingly leaves us in dire circumstances?
When God is not changing your situation He is wanting to change your heart.
Read the rest of the story. In fact, read the rest of the book of Matthew! The disciples learned something about Jesus they never would have learned otherwise. “He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”-Matthew 8:26-27.
They learned that Jesus had the power and authority to cause even the winds and waves to bow at his feet. But I imagine that they also learned a little something about trust.
I will say it again. When God is not changing your situation He is wanting to change your heart. Maybe He is wanting you to learn how to trust Him. Maybe He wants you to learn how to endure. Maybe He is teaching you how to love stronger, live more humbly, or recognize what is important.
A stubborn, arrogant, and threatening three year old cat softened into a stubborn, arrogant, and loving family member. She lived 13 more happy years of her life in the same situation, but with a changed little cat heart.
Your seemingly never ending season of suffering will one day subside. Until then, dig in your heels and let your soul be taught and your heart be changed.