Lost Sons and Lost Cats

I’m a cat lover. I know that’s a little strange for a guy, but there’s no need to remind me, plenty of my friends remind me of it regularly.

With that in mind, my Wednesday night was full of stress and sadness.

That night our cat of six years, Lucy, got outside without our knowledge at around 8. Being extremely small, with no outdoor experience, and no claws, we didn’t give her much hope of making it through the night. So when I got home at 10 the 2-person search party got to work.

We circled our own house and those of our neighbors multiple times, shining a flash light in corners, crevices, and likely hiding places, while calling her name and shaking a bowl of food. I checked parts of the woods behind our house and the drain along the road next to our house. Twice a possum’s eyes glowed yellow as they caught the beam of my flashlight, getting my hopes up, but there was no sign of her.

So I took to the car and began searching the neighborhood. I didn’t allow my wife to go with me, if we found her run over by a car I figured I would spare her. So I drove slowly down every cul-de-sac and road. Several neighborhood cats dashed across my headlights, but none of them were Lucy. Five or six times I saw a dark shadow or lump on a front porch or doorway. Five or six times I quickly halted, threw it in reverse, and returned to look. And five or six times it turned out to be a flower pot, package, or gnome.

My wife shed a few tears as we called off the search and retired to bed. Neither of us slept very well. Partially because we left the windows open to hear her if she returned, and every noise we heard outside beckoned us to rush to the back door and see if she was there.

So as I restlessly tossed and turned many thought occurred to me.

She’s just a cat, it’s not a huge loss. Why lose this much sleep over her? Why seek after her this hard? I mean she’s rather insignificant in the grand scheme of my life.

Yet I did seek after her that hard, and I mourned her potential loss that hard.

And then at 4 am our son woke up crying, my wife headed for his room and I figured I’d look one more time at the back porch.

And I rejoiced, for there cowering next to the grill, frightened and shivering, was Lucy.

And as I rejoiced another thought occurred to me – if I labor, mourn, and then rejoice this much over one insignificant lost cat, how much more does God rejoice over us? How much harder does he seek after us? How much more does he mourn when we stray towards pain, danger, and potential death?

I’ll leave you with a few passages from Luke 15 where the lost sheep are described with many different images. This is the manner in which God sought over you and I and rejoiced over us when we became his. And this is the manner in which God seeks after those who don’t know him, the people you and I come in contact with. What if I, too, sought after them as God does? What if I sought after them like I did Lucy?

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost’…’Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.'”

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

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