“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (NKJV)
What’s one thing God and cats have in common?
Before I give you my answer, note that I’m in no way putting God and cats on equal footing. God is the creative force here; cats are the products of His efforts. Creator and created, big difference! The root of this question stems from the idea that what an artist creates cannot help but say something about the artist. Hence, cats have something to tell us about God, the Creator.
“The personality of the artist leaks through their work. God included. He reveals himself through nature, as the Scriptures testify.” John Eldredge from Beautiful Outlaw (highlight mine)
So, here’s my one-word answer to that question that you may or may not have seen coming based on the title of today’s post: surprise. Surprised?
A cat’s uncanny ability to show up in some of the most unexpected places and ways always elicits a reaction from those fortunate enough witnesses. More times than not, whenever something unforeseen happens, it’s downright startling, as in “Whoa, I did NOT see that coming!”
Not that long ago, I was walking through our kitchen and was completely caught off-guard by our cat, Ringo (yes, after the Beatle!), staring out at me from one of our kitchen cabinets that had accidentally been left open. Even today, it’s a treasured memory that continues to refresh my soul for its disruption of my otherwise unremarkable, vanilla day because it serves as a priceless reminder that I gloriously don’t have everything figured out, especially when it comes to God.
Surprises like this are a gift because they awaken the once wide-eyed but now all-too-deeply slumbering child adventurer in me. I don’t know about you, but it’s a joy whenever my much younger self shows up because doors to possibilities suddenly appear that my deadened, cookie-cutter adult self either won’t or can’t conceive of as even existing. My earlier “God-in-the-box” post touched on this issue.
“and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NKJV)
“On worship: ‘For many, Christianity has become the grinding out of general doctrinal laws from collections of biblical facts. But childlike wonder and awe have died. The scenery and poetry and music of the majesty of God have dried up like a forgotten peach at the back of the refrigerator.’” John Piper, Desiring God
Such a delightful interruption in my day is a trumpet’s call to be open-minded about just how much more extraordinary, grander, and more mysterious God is than my pedestrian, earth-bound, more “mature” thoughts will comfortably allow.
“Jesus rarely comes where we exect Him; He appears where we we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical connections. The only way a worker can keep true to God is by being ready for the Lord’s surprise visits.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
And with those truths front and center, it also leads me to contemplate His brighter-than-the-sun, absolutely pure Holiness. Could the chasm of differences between the Lord and myself be any more stark and dramatic? To that, I gratefully exclaim, “Wonderfully not!”
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
“No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NKJV)
Our God is not in the least bit humdrum, nor is He passive and ambivalent to the goings-on of this world as some would suggest. Since the foundation, He has been actively involved in His creation, including, of course, His purposeful commitment to the ongoing, ever-deepening One-on-one relationships with His children.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 (NKJV)
Given the vast differences between God and ourselves in tandem with His desire to conform us to the image of His Son, our Savior, Jesus, we have every reason to anticipate that God should and will upend our ways.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
He will upset our status quo for His good purposes.
“When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” A. W. Tozer
In the lives of believers, disruptions of all shapes and sizes that lead to the changes He desires to take place in us as proclaimed by scripture should be considered “normal” to expect, shouldn’t they be?
“We do not so much search the Word of God as the Word of God searches us.” Barry Black, US Senate Chaplain
What sort of God would He be if He didn’t boggle our worldly minds, challenge our mistaken beliefs, expose our tightly-held, wayward assumptions, and overturn our oh-so-carefully but far-too-often selfishly set tables?
“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” Matthew 21:12 (NKJV)
My friends, Jesus is an utterly beautiful disrupter of our doggedly-entrenched worldly condition for good reasons.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;” Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
Praise God because He is so much more than we dare think or imagine whose generosity knows no bounds.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)
He has, after all, given us a surprize beyond measure, Jesus, in a most surprising but oh-so-delightful, completely God-like way.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
It is no surprise that Jesus didn’t come in the form or way that the world expected. Even to this very day, He continues to give Himself as the ultimate prize to all those who would believe in Him. And that, dear brother and sister, I pray brings you immeasurable joy and delight every day of the year, especially during this Christmas season. May God’s surprises continually refresh and bless you in the most remarkable, hope-inspiring ways throughout the remainder of this year and those to follow according to His good and perfect will.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)
“Praise the Lord” by Crowder from the album “Prodigal Son (Deluxe Edition).”