Last week we welcomed a new cat into our home. Colby Jack, so named for his orange and white color, arrived feeling quite unwell. For the first two days he barely rose from the couch, and it was all we could do to get him to eat or drink. For a while we wondered if all we had done by taking him in was to provide him with a comfortable place to die.
We knew there would be some adjustment for our other two cats, but as lethargic and immobile as Jack was, we honestly didn’t expect them to react too strongly until he was up and around a little more.
We were wrong.
Smokey and Mina reacted immediately. To an extent they seemed angry and irritable, but those were not their primary responses. Their primary response was fear.
They were terrified of this blob of fur on the couch that barely moved.
And their fear caused them great trouble. They were so terrified of Jack’s very presence that they hid in the back of the house, mainly in our bedroom, unwilling to even venture out to eat! For two days they refused food or water. For two days they refused to even use the litter boxes!
Jack was so sick that he barely even acknowledged their presence. There was nothing he could have done to them even if he had wanted to, but they were convinced that he was scary.
The cats’ fear of Jack was rather laughable, but it was also sobering – sobering because we do the same thing. There are many things that paralyze us and keep us from performing the most basic functions of the Christian life. We shy away from Christ’s way of living because of these fears. Over and over, God reminds us of the truth about those things that hold us in fear, but over and over we ignore Him and persist in our timid behavior.
Don’t believe me? Let me offer you a challenge. Read the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5-7 – and spend the next few days living out just the principles in those three chapters. Then, come back and tell me how many times you chose to boldly fulfill each command to the full extent instead of backing down in any way.
God knows what enemies we face much better than we do. In fact, He sees the real enemies, and He knows that those we perceive to be enemies are about as impotent as our sick cat was last weekend. Will we trust Him? Will we boldly listen to His voice and believe Him when He says we have nothing to fear? Or will we be paralyzed by our fear of nothing?
Let’s not be like mindless cats. Let’s instead be bold. Let’s face our fears and overcome our hesitancies so that we can effectively live out our service to Him with no limitations. Such boldness could open doors that we could never imagine!