In case you still haven’t heard, Merlin (my beloved Cat) had to go through an emergency surgery procedure on his urinary bladder because it was clogged with stones and it nearly burst. Once again, in the 11 and a half years of having him as my cat, I was overwhelmed by just how much I love him. He’s just a cat, for crying out loud! But the thought of losing him, the thought of him being pain still makes me cry, because yes, I love him that much.
The verse, “When I consider the your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4) always gets to me because it shows just how small and insignificant we are compared to the big picture of the universe, and yet, God cares for us!
God uses Merlin time and again to illustrate this point to me. From his first hospital stay (in 2008), I spent over a month’s retainer fee for his bills, and now it looks like I’ll be spending my 13th month pay on him again, and yet it doesn’t bother me. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t even spend this much money on myself, and yet I would– and have–willing plunk down so much just for a cat!
A cat whose most constructive contribution to the household was to catch an occasional mouse. Most of the time he ignores me– he even runs away when I try to hug him. He eats my mom’s plastic plants, he demands for hand out every meal, and I he scratches me all the time. Well, ok, he’s learned a new skill– he now gives massages, but still. He’s split my lip twice already! Yet, whenever he does come to me willingly, sits beside me whenever I get home for the weekend, or when I’m sick or sad–for whatever reason a cat has for giving acts of affection– my heart just overflows with joy.
I love Merlin because he is mine. And no matter what he does, or will do, I will still love him. Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t discipline him whenever he does something bad– one of the first words he ever learned was “no!” The other one was “down!” Guess what he was trying to do at that time.
And right there, is a Stef scale model of God’s love for me, not that what I feel for Merlin will ever be equal to God’s love, but it’s a tangible hint of what it is. I don’t really need a cat, but I chose to have a cat– with all his quirks and independence and even indifference. I love Merlin because he is mine– and it’s not because of the things he does or stands for. I feed him, I take care of him, I pay for his hospital bills, clean up his litter box and the mess that he makes, discipline and dote on him.
“What is man that you are mindful of him?” Whenever I think of how often I use His name in vain, how I lie, sin, cheat– why does God even bother with me? When I see humanity–all the things that we do and say just to prove that there is no God, or that God is there but He doesn’t care… to go through great lengths to show that we don’t need Him. I just wonder how silly and foolish we look to Him, or how we break His heart every time we push Him away. His great love caused Him to create this universe, to send His only Son to suffer and die for our sins, to give our short existence in this universe a purpose.
He didn’t have to, but He still did.
Funny, we’re just starting on series called The Love Story at church, and I really like what Manu said about God’s love: it’s inclusive, irrational and immovable. It’s difficult to comprehend because while I’m glad that God loves me, it’s hard to believe that God loved Hitler too. But that’s how His love is– it doesn’t really matter who we are, what matters is who He is– He is love!
Once in a while, God uses Merlin to give me a clue of how much He loves me–I just have to raise how I feel about my cat to the zillionth power and then some. And if I think how overwhelming, surprising, and joyful it already is to love my cat right now–God’s love is just ineffably awesome! And I have no credit for it– it’s all Him. It’s because of who He is, and not because of how awesome we are.
And with that, can I ask for a prayer request?
Please keep on praying for Merlin?