I had just finished reading a morning devotional from one of my favorite authors. As I leaned back to stretch, I started to pray with my usual list of names for God’s loving touch. But then my own heart cried out: “Jesus, I can’t comprehend your indwelling—I want to understand and respond more to your Holy Spirit. This gift inside me is beyond me.”
Within seconds of my heart cry, Zorro showed up. My two-year-old, long-haired tiger cat pounced onto the arm of the couch and arched toward me. I reached to touch him and he started purring and curled into my lap. As I scratched on the top of his nose and head, Zorro purred louder in enjoyment. I studied his beautiful green eyes and felt the sleek river of oily black hairs down his spine. I gently touched his milky-white neck ruff, and I admired the pattern of stripes on his jowls. Then I started to wonder at the God who designed and loves cats. Then I thanked Zorro for coming to me. And I thanked Jesus for sending me this feline expression of his love for me. Zorro sat and purred for at least 15 minutes—about the length of his tolerance for human affection.
God knew that I just needed to sit quietly and appreciate the majesty of his creation—my crazy, tail-chasing, sometimes annoying cat. So I was moved to tears which is hard to handle with a cat on your lap. Jesus knows me so well. Since I was a small child, I have been inspired and affected by my pets: cats, dogs, birds, sheep, horses, chickens, etc. Yet in my busy adult life, I rarely take the time to just sit and stroke the two cats in my house. Usually I’m just feeding them, taking care of their litter box, or removing their hair from furniture.
I’m still trying to process Zorro and the Holy Spirit’s nudge. I trust that God heard my prayer and he responded. I remember God’s use of animals in the Bible: a donkey that spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:28-30), or a large fish/whale swallowing Jonah (Jonah 1-2). Who are we to limit how God can use and move his creatures?
Jesus tried to explain the nature of the kingdom of God to Nicodemus in John 3: 8: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it’s sound [purr], but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (NIV). Even cats.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
- Can you remember an unexpected or strange way that God has reached out to you?
- Have you struggled to understand the activity of the Holy Spirit?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.
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