What Held You There?

Last year my daughter rescued some tiny kittens from the barn. They were newborns and their mother had, for some reason, left them. It didn't take us long to figure out that they were sickly and it was a struggle to keep the two that survived alive - a very big struggle. They are now a year old and thriving in our household. They are "The J's" - A & B J are their names. What started out for one as Black Jack soon became Black Jackee and then B J. The other was bigger so we figured he was first born - so he became A.

The J's have the run of our house. They don't like the puppies and they don't like anyone but us. It's obvious they were born to wild cats and their nature is to behave in a wild and anti-social manner. Unfortunately, they did not inherit the instinct and uncanny knack for survival that most wild cats have. They are quite mentally challenged. I was reminded of that this morning as A-J hovered on the roof over the same ladder we use routinely to rescue him. He climbs the big oak tree and jumps down to the roof. It must SEEM LIKE fun and he must not remember that last three of four 24 hour sessions he spent up there. This time, however, he DID remember where we normally put the ladder to rescue him. He was there waiting.

I set up the ladder and Tigger immediately ran up it and onto the roof then back down it. I could almost hear him screaming - "Look dummy, it's just this easy" but A-J would not jump onto the ladder. When I climbed the ladder to try to grab him, he stayed just out of arm's reach. So, I left for work. After a day, he'll be ready to be grabbed. I wonder how he can't figure out that the tree is as easy to climb down as it is to climb up - Tigger does!

Driving to work, I heard a song. I never remember the names of songs, but the message was profound. As I reflected on the nature of my cat to always challenge my patience, the song reminded me that I too am a trying creature constantly challenging my heavenly guide. This song gave me a new perspective on an old story - the story of the cross.

We've all read the Biblical accounts of the four Apostles who describe the scene at Calvary. We have seen the movie. The violent false accusations, the violent abuse, the torture, the journey to the hill, the nails, the hours of darkness followed by the death of our Lord and Savior. How horrific this image is to me even as I reflect today. Jesus was an innocent man. He was a perfect man. He was God.

That's it! That's the new perspective on the old story for me. Jesus was God born of man. He performed miracles, fed thousands on crumbs, walked on water and then....hung there on a cross after being beaten and tortured. Why did he do that? He was and is God! So why did he take that sort of punishment ESPECIALLY given the fact that he was perfectly innocent?

There is the prophecy that Jesus knew He had to fulfill. He already knew the ressurrection. He already knew he would ascend back to His father. He knew what He would be doing those three days before his earthly body was revived. That's how I have always looked at this story - he HAD to fulfill the prophecy. But, that's a really tiny way to look at a really big event.

Jesus hung on that cross for me! He did it for me and you and everyone else in this world! He hung there, in pain, nails ripping his body, soldiers tormenting him, each breath coming a little more slowly simply and purely because He loved us! He loved a perfect love that gave him the perfect patience to take that pain and suffering just because he loved. How hard is that for me, an imperfect person to imagine and then accept? How much grace can a God have that He would endure that sort of tribulation just to save me?

Jesus was and is God. He could have - at ANY time - stopped the entire scene. He could have turned his accusers into dust. He could have easily come down from the cross and condemned us all to certain death! If I were hanging there and those options were available to me, I would probably have said "these fools are not worth it!" I can't even be patient with a stupid cat!

I am so grateful that God gave the gift of song and inspiration to certain followers. I am so grateful for the gift of a radio in my car and people committed enough to evangelism that they continue to present these revelations to me. I am so grateful, and unworthy, of the fact that instead of using his Godly powers, Jesus took the hard road and stayed the course. He never abandoned the mission and that mission's purpose was the guarantee of salvation regardless of my unworthiness.

Today began with a stupid cat doing stupid stuff. It will probably continue with stupid people, including myself doing stupid stuff. But when it's all said and done. All has been paid for by one man. Oh Thank you God for that mission and for seeing a worthiness in me that I can not see myself!

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