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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Scaredy Cat

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear—
1 John 4:18

We were like repelling magnets with like forces facing each other. The closer I got to the stray kitten, the more he moved away. Desperately underfed, its dull eyes, dull fur, and slight frame captured my heart. Being the obsessive compulsive, ever hopeful person that I am, I tried again to approach… still, no contact. Only shallow forlorn meows, and rubbing against the rigid cold wrought iron legs of my patio furniture. If it only knew the warmth and comfort it could experience instead, by rubbing against my legs. But, no, he was determined to keep a safe distance.

His name was Sunday, since he appeared on a Sunday, but I called him, “Scaredy Cat,” because that’s who he was. Obsessive attempts to hold this kitten continued, determined to tame him, love him, and nurture him into relationship and security. After all, I knew best and I knew I could be trusted. One time, only, I caught him. For an instant I felt him relax, but mostly just his rapidly pounding heartbeat against my chest. He scrambled free, desperate to escape, leaving scratches on my empty arms. Only a clump of fur clung to my hands.

After months of peaceful co-existence, the faint meowing of Scaredy Cat came from somewhere. I frantically searched, but he wasn’t to be found. How my heart ached with each pitiful meow. Like he was trapped somewhere. And he was. Some 20 feet above ground, out on a swaying limb of the neighbor’s pine tree I caught a glimpse of orange. We were both powerless to save. Day after day, I endured the incessantly painful cries of the desperate cat. In spite of cold and rain, he tenaciously clung to life. His pain was killing me.  He was going to die in his fear. Finally, the pathetic cries ceased. He was sunning himself on the driveway like nothing had ever happened. Not a scratch or broken bone. Twice, this happened, and still he would not allow me to get close.

Then, one Sunday afternoon, he appeared from the woods and sat intently watching me from a safe distance. In my frustration, I spoke out loud to him. “What are you so afraid of?”  “Why are you so afraid of me?” “What did I ever do to hurt you?" "I have never given you any reason to fear or distrust me.” Bam! My words boomeranged back and slammed into my heart. Heavenly Father, how many times have You gently called to me with the same words? And my response was just the same—keep a safe distance, at all cost, out of fear.  Ouch--

Father in heaven, I’ve hurt Your heart by keeping my distance from You, in spite of how You’ve pursued me, cared for me, loved me, and proven Yourself completely trustworthy.  Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness.

Karen Sims

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