Our family adopted a new kitten a little over a week ago. We got her for our son Jed for his birthday and because we thought our older cat might need a friend to avoid depression once our daughter Riley goes to college later this year. Jed named her Daenerys after a Games of Thrones character. Dany is a sweet girl but has been a bit skittish during this adjustment. She hides under his bed, on his windowsill, and on shelves behind his massive sized shoes. Honestly, I didn’t think she’d venture out of Jed’s room for a long time, which is why I didn’t shut the door completely the other night when Jed went to bed.
I was almost asleep when I heard a loud commotion from upstairs. Jed burst into our bedroom and exclaimed, “she’s not in my room anymore.” He explained that Dany had seemed a little too quiet, so he’d started looking for her, which is when he found her on the stairs outside of his room. When she saw Jed, she spooked, jumped off the landing onto our downstairs recliner, and then ran to the front of the house. We looked and looked for her but couldn’t locate her. I suggested that maybe we suspend the search because cats hide, that she would eventually find her way back to his room. “We have to find her,” Jed insisted. “She might be hurt or scared. She may not know how to get back to my room.” And so, we kept searching, finally removing the breakables from the shelves of three bookcases and pulling their heavy frames far enough from the wall to find her hiding underneath. Around midnight, Jed carried her back to his room, safe and sound.
Sometimes, the people we love run away from us physically, mentally, or emotionally. Sometimes, we may want to pursue them, but we can’t continue. We must pull back in order to establish healthy boundaries. Sometimes, they don’t want us to find or rescue them from their difficult circumstances. And sometimes, we may be the ones who run and hide from those who love us. The resulting pain can overwhelm us. But we can take comfort in the fact that God won’t give up on any of us no matter how lost we are.
Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep to his followers.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-7).
Jesus said that in the same way, heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents.
Jesus won’t stop searching for any of us ever. God relentlessly pursues relationships with us. No matter how far we run or how long we hide, we can rest assured that God is always right behind us, waiting to share our burdens, comfort us when we hurt, and ease our aches with his love.
Please don’t tell Jed because he will never let me forget it, but his persistent search for the kitten reminded me of Jesus and the lost sheep. Jesus won’t leave us when we are hurt, scared, act out, run, or hide. We cannot escape God’s presence or his quest for us. God loves us too much to let us go. Thanks be to God.