We have a new cat. Or maybe I should say, a new cat has us.
A small squabble broke out between the Man and I over this cat on Tuesday. Arriving from home, the Man was alarmed that I had failed to notice a cat meowing in our garage all day. Easy enough to explain—there wasn’t a cat meowing in the garage. “Yes, there is.” “No, there wasn’t.” Back and forth this went until we went to investigate this discrepancy in our stories. Sure enough there was a cat meowing, but it was not in the garage.
“It’s in your car. You brought the cat home with you.”
Under the hood of the Man’s very loud car, sat a terrified kitten. It had taken a ride on three Los Angeles ‘freeways to find itself in a new neighborhood. There goes at least one life. Apparently, we were scarier than the engine because one look at us and the cat ran for its other eight lives.
For the remainder of the evening, this very tiny cat disrupted our lives. There was no catching it. All we could do was fear that it would die cruelly from hunger or a prowling predator. As helplessly as it had entered our lives, it remained.
It has continued to remain over the last two days. We hear its cries for help. We see flashes of it running about. We are awakened by three dogs who are alert and concerned by its presence.
Last night, we put food out for it and within a few minutes we heard it eating, and realized this little unexplainable life that entered our reality is more aware of us than are we of it. It’s watching us to see if we will give it a chance. Will we let it give it a chance to grow strong?
It many ways this little kitten is teaching me a lot about God’s grace, of which I have been desperately asking the Lord to teach me more about.
God’s grace enters our lives without invitation. We hear it. We investigate it. And aren’t we all just as shocked when we pop up the hood of life and say, “Really? This way? It’s so reckless, so dangerous, so risky. For me?” We immediately think of all the safer ways we’d have it find its way home to us.
And we all try to tame grace; foolishly believing it’s now ours. You know, we’ll take it to church. Have it sing in the choir. Smile and have it shout, “Praise the Lord!” We’ll train it to look the way everyone expects it to look. We’ll make a list of all the things it can do for us—and get it straight to work. When others notice what a great job we’ve done with it, we’ll say, “It was nothing,” wearing a picture perfecting duping grin.
The flesh, like protective dogs, will always try to bark and scare away grace. Unrelentingly they demand that the owner of the house do something about the intruder. “No freeloaders,” they holler, “We’ve got this place guarded. We’ve been working the perimeter. Out!” they demand, their noses catching even the faintest hint of anything gained that hasn’t been earned. Amazing how such a small presence can create such a big disturbance.
Grace is like that. We don’t invite it. We discover it. It disrupts us. We don’t tame it. We only awaken to its presence and something deep inside of us tells us we want to give it a chance to grow stronger. Maybe the mistake we make about grace is we think we have to go find it and save it and teach it to behave properly, rather than just be completely amazed it exists.
No, we don’t go find grace. It finds us and disrupts our lives with the presence of God’s beauty, goodness, truth, and love.
“But when God who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace was pleased to reveal His Son in me…and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me…For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Galatians 1:15, 16a; 2:20b; Ephesians 2:8-9)