For Christmas, we surprised our kids each with their own barn cat. So though we vowed not to buy any new animals in 2019, we technically kept our promise by acquiring 3 free kittens from a shelter.
We put a small cat house in our garage that we got for free on Craig’s List. It was made for rabbits but works great for kittens. It comes complete with a cased-in bedroom just the right size for a kitty bed and blanket and a second wired-room with enough space for a litter box, food, and water. It’s elevated off the ground to keep predators out and has a vaulted ceiling high enough for climbing.
They say cats have 9 lives and I can see why.
The first day we introduced the barn cats to the kids (Christmas Day) was the same day I left their door open on accident while re-filling their water. While I was gone fetching them water, two of the cats got out. Kyle and I spent about 30 minutes looking for them and found one underneath the lawnmower near the blade. We had to use a broom to push it out and squeeze it back out from under the mower. We put it back in the kitty house and it carried on as though nothing had happened.
Then, on purpose, feeling like the cats were old enough and big enough to freely roam the garage, I left their door open for them to explore. I should have known, being cats, they would find their way to the tallest part of the attack where the floor is made out of the insulation. I came in the next day, looked up, and saw insulation dangling down from the ceiling where a cat must have fallen. The dangling insulation is at least 15 feet above the cement floor and is situated right above the sharp metal roof of their cat house. I thought for sure when I put out a can of tuna and salmon that I would find only two live kitties, but all three skittishly made their way to the open can of cat food.
If falling 15 feet or being squished near a law-mower blade is not enough to kill a cat … a few days ago, we were trying to train our almost fully-grown cats to move from the cozy garage to the great outdoors. We moved their cat house outside, closed the garage to where the door was only about 6 inches from the ground, and then placed a can of wet cat food a few feet from the garage to lure them out. It worked! At first, we just saw their eyes peeking out from under the dark garage door. Then they took a few steps toward their food but darted back inside. They did this for a while until one brave, black cat came all the way out and began to nibble on the bait. I decided to open the garage door all the way up so that the other two kittens might better see the third cat eating and perhaps join him. When I pressed the button, it startled the brave, black, dining kitty to where it scurried back toward the garage. I was expecting the door would go up, but when I pressed the button it instead went down – right on top of the cat. Seeing that it was going down, I quickly pressed the button again to get the garage door to go back up but by that time, it was too late. The door had completely shut. However, when the door started going back up the brave, black, smashed kitty scurried inside as though nothing had happened.
We left the can of food outside and eventually the other two cats, who had not been traumatized by being shut under a garage door, made their way out to the food. Kyle went out later to try to find the third cat but to no avail. He tried again that evening but it was still missing. We thought for sure its insides has been crushed and that it might have gone away to hide and die. We were able to shut out the other two cats for the night and left another can of food in the garage hoping that maybe the third cat would still be alive.
In the morning, Kyle found the food in the garage half gone! We were still not totally convinced however that it hadn’t gotten one last meal before retiring to his death bed. We opened the garage door again leaving more food outside. The other two went back inside but sure enough, later that morning, all three cats came wandering out toward the food. It was a time of celebration in the Strong home, though I was completely perplexed how the third cat had survived.
These multiple phenomenons remind me of the verse from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 that says, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
My family has gone through an intense time of grief, sadness, anger, destruction – you name it. We are pressed by the troubles of divorce, addictions, assaults, and abandonment. We are perplexed why the visions, hopes, and dreams from a 40-day intense time of prayer and fasting have not yet been realized. We are perplexed why certain opportunities that seemed like open doors have shut. We are knocked down by insomnia and depression, and sicknesses that have not just keep us in our beds for days on end, but for some of us, have nearly lead to death. We are hunted down by the devil who has waited until our most vulnerable hour to attack us with our deepest wounds and offenses by the people we love the most. He has set us all up against each other and we have been knocked down.
Yet in all of this, we are not crushed. We keep getting up with conviction, humility, and forgiveness. Through our tears, we keep worshipping the God who never fails. With all the strength left in us, we keep crying out to Him for hope. Though we don’t understand God’s ways and timing and though we can’t see it or feel it, we are not driven to despair. We are still believing and having faith that God is working all things out for our good and is finishing what He began. Though we are hunted down we are not destroyed because the same God that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us and EVEN IF we are driven all the way to death itself, we will still rise up again and live.
Proverbs 24:16 “Though a righteous man falls 7 times, he gets back up.”
In Christ we are righteous, and though we fall, like a cat from a 15-foot roof, we will get back up. Though we are crushed, like a cat under a garage door, we will live on – and not just 7 times or 9 times. In Christ, we are an army that will rise up from the ashes every time leaving the soon to be doomed, destroyed, crushed, despairing, abandoned devil as the one perplexed.