The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a minor tragedy happened in our home. My cat, Nichta (pronounced NEEK-ta and meaning “night” in Greek) broke his leg. The events surrounding his injury and recovery brought me face to face with my own reactions to God when things happen in my life that bring me pain. In fact, recently, I think I was a little hurt at God. My experience with my cat really made me think about God’s love for me and convicted me about my own actions and attitudes. I believe that this is an important message for all of us to remember for a future that will bring some difficult days. When tragedy strikes, we must trust the Master.
We have two cats and three German Shepherds. Usually, they are great buddies. My two younger dogs move kind of fast for my cats, but my older dog, Xena, is both of my cats’ best friend and cat warmer during the winter months. Of all the animals, Nichta is my baby. He is my cat, and I am his person. He is the most loving cat I have ever had. Nichta will jump on my lap and ram his head into me, snuggling and purring. He comes into my prayer closet almost every night, especially during the winter months, cuddling under the blanket with me and purring softly while I read my Bible.
The day it happened, my husband and I were both home. It was about 10:00 AM when my husband let the dogs out into the backyard. As soon as he did, we heard a cat in distress. My husband rushed out to see that my two younger dogs had Nichta pinned. This was the first time I ever remember my cat even going into the backyard. He goes in and out, but always through the front. The dogs either didn’t recognize him at first or did and were just playing. Usually, he gets away from them when they charge, but this time, they caught him. (On hindsight, we wondered if he had fallen off the fence and hurt his leg before the dogs even got to him. That would make sense since he usually gets away when the dogs try to “herd” him.)
My husband yelled and one dog, Leo, backed up. Our youngest dog, Angel, kept him pinned until my husband got there and pulled her off. Nichta scrambled away, over the fence, and up onto the neighbor’s roof. I went out into the front yard and called and called. He wouldn’t come down. My husband was still experiencing symptoms of COVID and was in no condition to go roof climbing. We decided to let him be for a while.
Nichta Finally Came Home
Every few minutes for the next few hours, we called him. He had disappeared from the roof, and we weren’t sure if he was hurt or just scared or even angry. He finally came home around 2 PM. We were just about to eat a late lunch when my husband heard him at the front door. He opened the door, and Nichta limped in. He went straight to my chair, hopped up, and buried himself in my lap.
When we realized that there was something really wrong with his leg, we took him to the emergency vet. The vet splinted the leg (see the top picture) but said it was a complete fracture. He would need surgery. By the time we picked him back up from the vet, it was after 9 PM. The next day was Thanksgiving, so no one would even be open to call. He would just have to stay in his split for a while.
The emergency vet gave him a liquid pain medicine that we were to administer every twelve hours. The vet warned us that it was very bitter, and we would have to put it down his throat using a syringe-type dropper. To say Nichta didn’t like it would be an understatement. It was pretty traumatic for all of us, actually. I would hold him, grabbing him by the scruff and prying open his teeth. My husband would then use the dropper to get the medicine in. When it was done, Nichta would sniff and spit, saliva dripping from his mouth. We would give him wet food right after as a treat, but it was rough.
Long story short after many, many calls and emails to local vets, we finally found a vet who could do his surgery that next Thursday. My husband brought him in that morning, and picked him up the next day since I was at work. Because of the complications, cost, and recovery time with repair, we chose to amputate my poor sweet baby’s leg. He would need two more weeks of healing and more medicine.
After his whole two-day ordeal with the vet, he was resting in our computer room where his food and litter box are. As soon as I got home from work, I went to see him. I was talking to him softly and sat down on the floor to pet him. Immediately, he got up, wobbly on three legs and even more awkward because of the plastic cone around his head that would keep him from biting at his stitches. He stumbled over and fell into my lap. He was purring and rubbing his head on me – cone and all.
Lessons Learned From My Cat
Throughout the ordeal, I noticed how it felt to be a master. My cat is mine. I picked him out and paid for him. I feed him and take care of all his needs. When he is hurting, I’m hurting too. I want to be right there with him to comfort him. And, when he needs something, even if feels like I am hurting him more to provide it, I have to do it.
I couldn’t help but see the parallel to God’s relationship to me. I am his child. He bought me with a price and called me into His service. He takes care of all my needs. When I am in pain, He is with me and feels my pain. And sometimes I know that the things I need aren’t always the things that feel good at the time, but He provides those too. I have to trust the Master.
1. When Tragedy Strikes, We Often Pull Away
When my cat was hurt, his first instinct was to get away. He got to the neighbor’s roof, and even our voices couldn’t get him to come down. Nichta was afraid. He knew that for the moment he was safe on the roof, so he stayed instead of coming back right away to allow us to help him.
Often, when we are hurt, we do the same thing. We back up and close ourselves off from the things that hurt us, but in the process can also pull away from God. My recent bout with COVID 19 was a big deal for me. It hurt so much for so long, and I wondered why God had allowed it. Almost from the beginning, I wasn’t afraid of the virus. I wore masks to be kind to others who were worried, but I always said, “God is control” which, to me, meant that He would protect me from getting sick.
When I did get so sick, all of a sudden, I wondered if was because I hadn’t been careful enough. Maybe I should have been more afraid. Maybe – and I never said this out loud or even in those words in my thoughts, but it was still there – maybe I shouldn’t have trusted God to protect me. What a horrible thought, right?
Then when my quarantine was over, my immediate reaction was to pull away from people, wearing my mask tight on my face and keeping my distance from others. If God wasn’t going to protect me, I would do it myself. (Again, I didn’t say it, but now that I look back, that is what my actions implied.) But no amount of precaution would have kept me from the virus if it was in God’s plan that I get it. Even when we don’t understand why things happen the way they do, we have to trust the Master.
2. Medicine Hurts Before It Helps
When we gave Nichta his medicine, he was physically, mentally, and emotionally stressed. We had to hold him by the scruff and pry his teeth open, and when the medicine went into his mouth, he spit, shook his head, and pulled away. But after the medicine was administered, he was able to sleep peacefully, free from the pain if only a few hours.
There is a part of me that wonders if my COVID experience was a sort of “medicine” for me. It was something I had to go through for my own good for one of God’s purposes. After all, God was with me the whole time, holding my hand and teaching me again and again that He can bring good from every bad situation. My moments of fear and hurt at God were all worked out over the course of this past week as God showed me through the scriptures and songs on the radio that fear of anything other than God just opens doors for the enemy. God is for us, not against us. He has plans to prosper us, not to hurt us. We have to trust the Master.
3. There is No Better Place Than the Arms of the Master
When Nichta first got home with his injury, the first place he went was into my arms. Likewise, when I first saw him after his surgery, he did the same thing. Stumbling and off balance, he was determined to put himself right there in my lap.
While we are still on earth, there will be things that will hurt us. Whether we put ourselves into situations that cause us pain or whether the things we go through are just for our own good, bad things will happen. And, when they do, there is just one place that we can find comfort: the arms of our Master. He will hurt with us, comfort us, and be there with us in our distress. He will watch over us and do the things that need to be done for our own good. We just have to run to Him, getting close enough so He can care for us. We have to trust the Master.
God Takes Care of His Own
My experiences with my cat the last couple weeks have shown me what it means to be both a master and a child of God. While at times we can start to feel unimportant, insignificant in the scheme of things, we must always remember that we are God’s children. My great love for the little feline I adopted from the shelter can’t possibly be greater than God’s love for me, a child that He bought with His Son’s precious blood.
Because of this, when troubles come in this life, I resolve to seek God instead of turning away from Him. Fear and hurt will have no place because I will remember the feeling of waiting for my cat to come home. I will also remember giving my cat the medicine. We don’t understand the bad things that God allows to happen to us, but we know that God will always use it for our good and His glory. And, like my sweet kitty, I will always seek comfort and solace in God’s loving arms. I will trust the Master.
Some Pictures Just for Fun
Top left: Leo, Nichta, and Xena (taken last year). Bottom left: Xena, Angel, and Leo. Right: Nichta after surgery.
Enjoy learning lessons? Try To Whom Much Is Given, Much Will Be Required.It is about the time God used a spilled cup of coffee to relieve one of my greatest fears. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.