by Beverly Newbold
A few years ago, my neighbor received a large orange cat from a friend who thought the cat would be a good companion for him. Unfortunately, the friend did not take into consideration that a cranky black and white dog named Connie lived with him, and thought cats were doggie treats!
Try as my neighbor might to win over the cat, the feline who looked like the star of the cat food commercials refused to stay at his house. Every morning, the cat would be laying on my deck, sunning himself and acting as though he belonged there.
If you have ever had a cat of your own, you know that cats have a very fickle nature and usually choose to have one owner. It appeared that the cat had chosen me, but I could never pet him! When I tried, he would move to another area on the deck.
My neighbor complained that the cat was always at my house and said I must be feeding him, which I denied. My neighbor said, “Well it looks like you’ve got a new buddy!”, and that became the cat’s name.
Eventually I won Buddy over and he moved indoors with me. No one else could pet him. He tripped over his four legs just getting away from someone’s outstretched hand.
Buddy and I spend a lot of time together, and every night he curls up on the bed at my feet. Each morning I feed him and let him outside. He never goes too far. He likes to come inside in the afternoon for a nice, long nap. Later he will eat his supper and beg to go back outside for a bit. As the day is fading, Buddy is waiting to come back inside to go to bed. His routine does not change much unless there is a thunderstorm and lightning, or fireworks! Then he hides under the bed and refuses to come out. Maybe Boomer would have been a good name for him!
A week ago, Buddy went outside after his breakfast and he never came back – not for his afternoon nap, his supper, bedtime. At first I thought he was just roaming more than usual but then, people around us started setting off fireworks. That should have brought him home in a flash. No Buddy!
The next morning and all that day, I searched for him. Bedtime came and I was quite worried about him. It was unlike him to be gone so many hours. The next morning arrived and Buddy had still not returned. I was certain something had happened to him. Maybe a critter out back had tested him and he had lost the battle.
I looked around for him, calling his name over and over. Finally I gave up and decided that a little prayer might be helpful. So I asked God to help Buddy find his way home if he could. A short time later, I glanced out the patio door, and there stood Buddy, looking quite bedraggled and limping on his left front leg. But he was home!
I gathered Buddy up in my arms and hugged him, and told him how much I loved him while he meowed back at me letting me know he was glad to be home. And I thanked God for listening.
Jesus tells a story of a man who owned one hundred sheep and one of them became lost. The man left his flock to go out and search for that one sheep. When he found it, he rejoiced and celebrated. Jesus wants us to know one lost soul found is a joy to celebrate. We are all like the lost sheep if we do not know the Lord who loves us so, and wants us to find our way home to Him. When we are lost, we wander aimlessly and without direction. Only God can show us the true way home.
PRAY WITH ME:
Lord, when I am lost and struggling, help me remember that You are with me, waiting with outstretched arms to welcome me home. I can always find my way when I put my faith and trust in You, and Your loving Son, Jesus. AMEN.