This morning, my cat jumped in my lap. This is his Saturday morning ritual. He’ll be outside for the night and when he sees me get up, he’ll meow loudly at the door. So I let him in, he eats, and then he jumps in my lap. Most other mornings, I’m long gone by the time he’s ready to cuddle, but Saturdays I’m usually sitting in my chair, doing some important work that he assumes he’s much more important than. So he’ll just jump up on my lap and, if I’m on the laptop, he’ll just lay down’ on it till I remove this impediment to his comfort.
And what happens next is interesting. I’ll scratch him behind the ears and pet him a little and then leave him alone. At first, he just lays there but after a few minutes, he starts to get nervous and after a few more minutes, he jumps off my lap. He usually ends up somewhere in the neighborhood of my wife or, if she’s not around, he’ll lay near me, but not too close. Then, after a while, he wants to go back outside.
And for some reason, this morning of all mornings, my cat, Tonsi Ruth, reminded me of my relationship with God.
Whenever I’ve been out in the “wilderness” for a while, I’ll want to come back home to God. He always welcomes me back and when I get home, I just want to peacefully rest in His arms forever. But then, after I’ve been there a while, I start to get restless. There are things to do, places to be, people to see. So I jump out of God’s lap. At first I don’t wander too far; I still cherish that closeness. But after a while, I start to take even that for granted, and want to be let out again, into the wilderness, where I figure I can take care of myself. And, of course, it doesn’t take too long before I figure out that wasn’t such a good idea, and want to be let in again. And, thankfully, God’s always there to let me back in.
So I wonder why that is. Why am I like a cat (and a cat I don’t even like, at that)? I’ve got some theories, but I think there’s a significant difference between me and ol’ Tonsi. My cat’s never going to change, but I can. He’s driven by instinct but I have access to the power and grace of God through the Holy Spirit’s witness within my soul. To the extent I intentionally choose to rely on and act on that power and grace, I CAN gradually be transformed into the image of Christ; I can get comfortable living in God’s lap. And that’s good news indeed.