“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Eph. 3:18 (NTL)
It doesn’t matter where he is in the house, as soon as I pull the vacuum my cat, Asher wakes from his slumber and slinks around the edges of the room to the safety of the basement. We’ve been doing this dance for almost a decade. Assuming I vacuum once a week, that’s over 3000 times I’ve pulled out the vacuum cleaner. It makes me a bit sad that my little buddy who loves to curl up on the couch in my office while I write or climb on my feet while I read, runs from me. The same little guy who stretches his neck just so while I rub his favorite spot under his chin thinks I’m going to let a machine gobble him up.
How often do we respond the same way with our fears? For the 3000th time the same thing undoes us. For me, surprises make me uncomfortable and nervous. Or events when I don’t know what to expect. Most of the time, both turn out lovely and I make great memories—when I don’t cower off in the corner trying to escape like my cat. When I’m anxious it helps to remember whose I am.
Know Whose You Are
You are chosen, beloved, and a child of the King. There’s no way I would hurt Asher or let anyone else hurt him. But run he does. Because he doesn’t know that. No one likes pain, but there is comfort in knowing we develop character in the hard times. We live in a broken world and things go wrong. But, our pain can have a purpose and doesn’t have to be wasted.
God is good and loves us more than we can imagine. Asher doesn’t understand I’m in control of the vacuum. How often do we forget God is in control when something bigger than us makes a lot of noise and scares us.
There are a bunch of studies on the Internet saying 85% to 95% of things you worry about never happen. I’m not sure how accurate the studies are. But take a minute an assess your life. What percentage of what you worry about never happens? What percentage is in the past or something beyond your power to change? What percentage is trivial and won’t matter in a few minutes, days or years? What are you left with? The number was pretty small when I did the exercise—less than ten percent.
Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
If Asher knew that I loved him and wasn’t a sadist bring out the machine and threatening to taunt and torturer him every week, he could continue his nap snuggled in the fleece blanket on the couch. Instead, he runs as if his life depends on it.
If my cat knew he was safe, and knew his emotions weren’t reality, he could endure the discomfort of the noise for 15 minutes.
If my cat knew I have plans for him, plans to feed him every day, brush him, and rub under his chin just where he likes it, if he knew he’s always got a home here and a good life he could relax in the middle of the chaos.
My cat runs not because of what happens outside of him, but because of what happens in his head. What’s chasing you today? Maybe the fear of something happening to your children or grandchildren. Or maybe it’s a health worry. 1 Peter 4:19 says, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” Instead of running from something chasing us in our imaginations, let’s run to our faithful Creator.