Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 68:19-20:
“Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
Our God is the God of salvation;
And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.”
Cats. You either love ‘em or you want to blast them with a 12-gauge shotgun into a billion bits. No middle ground. I tend to like cats (don’t shoot me). We had many of the creatures growing up—lots of adopted strays, lots of broken tails, lots of run-overs, and broken childhoods (sob, sob). It all comes back to me when I go down to visit my eldest sister, brother-in-law, and two nieces. It’s there I find the famed and stealthy menace: Bagheera the black cat.
Bagheera became the first addition to the family for the young married couple. He showed up at their doorstep as a stray—a loner cat facing a hot and humid world. He was thin and emaciated, starving and covered with scratches. A pitiful little cat. His deep eyes called longingly for a place to belong. And they opened their door to the poor creature. They cleaned him up, fed him, and took him to the vet. He was well cared for and within a couple months became a normal household cat. But after two little girls were added to the family, he had overstayed his welcome. You know what they say: “fish and guests stink after two years.”
It wasn’t just because of his presence. If he was a normal, nice cat (an oxymoron), he could get along great with the two girls and live a good many years in peaceful coexistence with this new species. But he’s become a bit of a rival prince for the two little princesses. Before he was starved for food—now, he is starved for attention. And he began to leave little presents outside his designated landing site (if you catch my drift). Apparently, one litter box was not enough. Like a rioting protestor, he began demanding better treatment—no less than two litter boxes to do his business in. They conceded and ended the litter box arms race. But they shouldn’t have had to.
Here he is, a stray cat who once had nothing but the streets. Now, he’s a prince, living in air-conditioning with plenty of food and water and care. Why should he be so rebellious? He has received so much. They didn’t have to take him in, but they did. They could have left him on the streets to starve. But now, he’s part of their house—and complaining about not having more than one litter box. What a selfish cat.
Cats aren’t the only selfish creatures. Bagheera isn’t the only creature to ever take for granted his benefits. Indeed, the Psalmist assures us that God is the One that “daily loads us with benefits.” He has loaded us up with blessings. We have more than we ever deserve. And after coming back from Africa, I can assure every American, rich or poor, that they are loaded to overflowing with blessings.
Look around. Right now. You’re probably sitting in an air-conditioned room, on a comfortable chair, with a full stomach and a quenched thirst. Looking at a piece of technology that the ancients only dreamed of. Right there before your eyes are numerous blessings too many to count. And that’s not counting the spiritual blessings.
“Our God is the God of salvation,” he goes on to say. You’ve been saved! God could have left you in your starving, depraved condition, outside on the streets of the world in the hot, humid environment. We were all dying sinners, on our way to hell, with wounds incurable and no true satisfaction. Starving. But then came God, to Whom belong escapes from death. And He gave us a way to escape our fate. Did we deserve it? Oh no! We deserved that vile death. We deserved that state of misery. We were poor, wretched, and miserable. But God saved us.
Yet here we are, prince and princesses in the Palace of Forgiveness, loaded to the kilt with benefits, complaining about our jobs. Wining about what we have for dinner. Throwing a fit about the traffic. Angry about the weather. What selfish humans.
-Matthew W., SC