Have you ever wondered just how much God cares about the tiny details that are important to you? It can be easy to think we need to save our prayer requests for the “big” things like health, jobs, relationships, or other major decisions. Yet, Jesus Made it clear just how much God knows about us.
“In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7 (NET)
A number of years ago God showed me in a very real way just how much He cares. It came in the form of a cat, Adelie. (Bonus points if anyone knows why that was her name without reading the next sentence. Adelie is a species of penguin, and I’m a “tad” obsessed with penguins.) Now for those of you who are “anti-cat” for some reason, please feel free to insert the animal of your choice, maybe dog, lizard, snake, capybara, llama, goldfish, or ostrich, into the story if that makes you feel better.
I was 19 and living at home while I was in college. Growing up we always had cats. We had our tiny calico cat, Butterscotch, but a few years ago Tuffy had passed away. She was my big black cat, and my baby. We had a special bond, and I missed that. For my 19th birthday I begged my parents to let me get a kitten. True to the humor that runs in my family, they gave me a Tamagotchi. For those of you who have no clue what I mean, a Tamagotchi was an egg shaped toy attached to a keychain. It had a tiny non color display screen. Basically you took care of this virtual pet by feeding it, playing with it, and cleaning up after it. Believe it or not, they were quite the rage; this was 1997 after all. We were light years away from iPhone.
I still wanted a kitten. No virtual pet, which kept dying on me, was going to curl up in my lap and purr. It only took me three months to wear my parents down. (I had to be careful because begging and whining were strictly prohibited in my house. This was more a gradual change of mind.) By the time August came around, I had my heart set on an orange tiger striped female kitten. That was out of character for me. I’ve never had my heart set on a certain “look.” I also desperately prayed this kitten would become my baby, for us to have a bond.
When my parents said yes, it was game on. I called every animal shelter and checked with friends. No one had any orange tiger striped female kittens. I also always liked the idea of rescuing a kitten or cat, but desperation took over and I was calling every pet store in the area. One hot Friday evening in August, I was sitting at the kitchen table. My hair still had that slight smell of chlorine from spending the summer in my best friend’s pool. I had the phone book in front of me and was down to the last number for a pet shop in the Yellow Pages. (Remember this was 1997, we still used paper phone books instead of Google.)
Right before admitting defeat and heading for some chocolate peanut butter ice cream, I made the last call. I felt completely crushed when the woman explained there had been a misprint in the phonebook. They were groomers, and didn’t have animals for sale. As she was starting to say goodbye, she asked me to hold on. She said she just remembered her nice had recently found a mother cat and three kittens. Her voice had a disappointed tone when she said to me there was only one kitten left, and she didn’t know if I’d want it.
The one kitten left was an orange tiger striped female.
That was A Jesus Moment like no other for me. I knew God cared about even the tiniest of details.
There was also one more catch. I needed to go get her the next morning because her nice was leaving for vacation and if no one took the kitten, she was going to have to go to a shelter. It’s well established that I am not a fan of mornings, but this time 10AM seemed way too long to wait. The next morning that newly named cat, purred in my lap on the way home. That was the beginning of 16 years with my strange orange tiger striped side kick. We were inseparable.
God knew what I needed in that cat. She had an attitude, with everyone but me. She was smart yet still not quite right in the head. She never quite got the hang of knowing she needed to retract her claws when she walked on carpet. She learned to let out what can only be described as a loud yodel, and everyone would come running thinking she was hurt. It took less than a week for that to become her signature. We could never tell if she was stuck and really in pain or just wanting attention. So, for 16 years that yodel got her plenty of attention, 99% of which had nothing to do with an emergency.
For as quickly as she learned that trick, she never seemed to grasp how to get other things she wanted faster. She liked to sit on the floor of my bedroom and meow to be picked up. As soon as I’d get up to get her, she’d run down the stairs to the other end of the house to let out her yodel and insist my mother carry her right back where she was just five minutes earlier. (That yodel meow was deafening and there was no ignoring it.) For 16 years she did that several times a day. I still don’t know why.
Recently I was wondering why I had my heart set on the certain appearance of a cat. I just knew an orange tiger striped female was the cat for me. When I asked God, He reminded me of this verse:
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
I had prayed again and again about the cat I wanted. God knew my deepest desire was to have one who I had a bond with like no other. That certainly happened from the moment I first held her. It was so unlike me to seem so picky, but there was a reason. God knew He had Adelie just for me. If I had wanted a different color cat, I would’ve gotten one somewhere else before a misprint in the phonebook led me to her. Adelie’s outward characteristics were what He used so I could identify her. I had no way of knowing if we’d bond until she was home with us. (I also had no way of knowing just how strange she’d be, which was an added bonus!) I gave my will over to God. I wanted His will to be accomplished, even in something that may seem trivial to some. He placed in me specific desires that couldn’t be ignored. Because I let Him mold my heart, He gave me a priceless gift.
Is there something in your life you’re praying about? Have you ever had your heart set on something specific and later realized why? Sometimes we can just be stubborn and stuck in our ways, but if there is a desire you cannot shake no matter how much you pray about it, ask God if there is a reason why. It’s amazing the gifts He gives you when you surrender your will to Him.
I love hearing from you. Do you have something you know was a gift from God that happened in an unusual way? Do you have any pet stories of your own? Please leave a comment and share.
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