Don't Live Like Vincent
This is Vincent. He and his brother Theo were born to the stray cat that briefly took up residence in our backyard. Their mother abandoned them when they were quite young. I suspect she moved to Paris and took up a lover, but I’m not certain. We never saw her again. From the time they were little, both cats were welcomed into our home. We’ve provided food, warmth, and free reign of the house. Theo soaked up our hospitality right away. He reveled in our standing offer of food, a soft couch, and constant (if not overwhelming) snuggling from Elizabeth. Theo lolls on the rug grooming himself like a purebred Persian; assuming he deserves nothing less than his current royal existence. Vincent, on the other hand, has never fully embraced what we’ve offered. Vincent eats the food and drinks the water and sleeps on a chair in our living room. And yet, he warily steps into our home, looking around for imagined dangers that might be lurking. He regards us with suspicion. He’s had five years of consistent provision, care, and kindness; but Vincent behaves like we will strike him with a stick at any moment. It’s like he wants to enjoy being loved, but just can’t let go of that innate, feral part of himself. Vincent has an inner voice that tells him to be afraid of us, even if everything around him indicates we care about him. He doesn’t sit on or even near us. He will not be held. He has never once climbed on the ridiculously large cat tree we have in our living room. (It didn’t look that big online!) He rarely ventures down the hallway and into the bedrooms. He is tentative and uncurious. Vincent is entitled to everything Theo has and he only enjoys a tenth of it. I’ve often behaved like Vincent in my relationship with God. Although the Lord is continually inviting me to explore the hallways of his love, I’ve been wary. He is creative and personal in His affection and still I’ve been suspicious. Though I’ve experienced God’s provision and protection, I can be tentative and uncurious. Even when life has brought pain, the Lord has been a constant shelter. And yet, I still secretly suspect He will hurt me. I gingerly try to take what He offers, but only when I really need it. And sometimes I worry that His love, patience, and tenderness will run out. I know I need Him, but I struggle with depending on Him. I still choose sparingly what He gives so abundantly. It’s the feral, fleshly part of me that wants to remain in control. Consequently, there are times when I cannot enjoy all that God offers. We’ve been invited to a life of abundance. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (MSG) says “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” We are not just offered the basics; we are offered ridiculously large amounts of God’s tenderness and grace. His provision is immense. His love is endless. Let’s not live like Vincent. He misses out on so much. I hope one day our neurotic kitty will trust our care. But even if he doesn’t, we will provide. Our love is not dependent upon his ability to embrace it. Today, may you revel in God’s faithfulness. Seek it. Enjoy it. Count on it. Don’t just take what you absolutely need in an effort to maintain independence. Trust His enduring patience and sweet, constant presence. You will not use it up. It will not run out. You can trust it more than any fear. Loll around in your royal heritage of blessing. It is yours to soak up.