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Confessions Of A Cat Rescuer #2 - I Believe In Miracles
I confess: I believe in miracles. I have one sitting in my backyard right now, as the photos below will show. But before I get into that story, I want to talk about miracles. Moreover, I want to talk about why you need to believe in miracles. I want you to see what I see, the everyday miracles people so often miss and the blessings miracles bring to your life, especially if you see them for what they are - God’s intervention in your life. Finally, I want to share with you our latest miracle - the one in my backyard.
So, what exactly is a miracle, and what does it have to do with being a cat rescuer? Well, a miracle is defined as an extraordinary event that shows divine intervention, or as I said before - a Miracle is God’s intervention in your life. A miracle says that God notices you, sees your need, and provides for you. Miracles tell you that God loves you. Miracles are God’s invitation to you acknowledge Him and to get to know Him. It’s God’s way of saying, “I’m still here.”
As a rescuer, my belief in God and in His blessing and protection are all I have sometimes to get me through the everyday trials of living in the rescue world. I really can’t see how anyone, unless their heart is extremely hard, could rescue cats and not believe in God or in miracles. Sadly though, many people are so tied up in themselves that they miss the miracles in their life. They cannot see beyond themselves, so they do not see the miracles, and because they do not see the miracles, they do not believe in them or the God who sends them with love.
How then can you “see” a miracle? In order to see a miracle, you must look beyond yourself and open yourself up to the wonder and pain of life once more. As children, we looked upon the world with innocence and marveled at things from the smallest insect to the stars in the sky. We also cried at the loss of our first pet. We felt the pain of heartbreak. We recognized that there was something bigger than ourselves, something beyond us, and we believed that the meaning of life was greater and bigger and more mysterious than we could ever imagine. We could “see” beyond ourselves, so we were open to seeing and experiencing things that were beyond us.
The reason people do not see miracles is that they are neither open to love or to pain. In fact, I would say that what most people feel, if they really feel anything at all, is fear. Fear causes us to become completely reliant on ourselves. Fear causes us to build a wall around our hearts to keep us from getting hurt. This is why people close themselves off to others. Even those that we say we “love” are really just in our lives as long as they perform as we want them to. This is why so many animals are dumped at shelters every year - they no longer fit their owner’s expectations. Whenever we become the center of our own universe, no one or nothing else matters, except where we expect them to perform for us. We no longer care about or rely on anyone else but ourselves, not even God.
So, if you really want to start seeing miracles, you are going to have to step outside the emotionless solitary fortress you have lived in for so long. You are going to have to be open to love and to pain, and you are going to have to embrace both. A great place to start is in animal rescue. It was actually my involvement in cat rescue that made it possible for me to see just how often God rescues me and my cats from the troubles of this life. Through my working with cats, I have learned to recognize God’s miracles and God’s movement in my life.
One of the first miracles I learned about was Healing. When you have worked with over 200 cats, you see all sorts of illness and injuries. Cats are asymptomatic creatures - meaning that a cat will not tell you or show you when the cat is in pain, nor can you easily tell. It’s a survival technique, for a cat in obvious pain would be easy prey for another animal. Prayer is always part of my treatment for any sick cat, and I have seen God answer those prayers. I have seen cats get well that the vet said would never get well, and I know that God healed them. But God does not always answer my prayers the way I want Him to, and it is in the pain of loss that we often experience the greatest miracles.
Lucky was the first cat we had to die from an illness. Lucky was a beautiful gray female we rescued as a kitten. She was so tiny she still needed to be bottle-fed. As Lucky grew, we had her spayed and even had a home ready for her. But something was not right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but Lucky just was not acting right. Then one day we found her lying on the floor with stroke-like symptoms. Lucky had developed Feline Infectious Peritonitis - a disease that is almost always fatal in cats. We prayed for healing, but Lucky’s condition deteriorated to the point where she was suffering. We took Lucky to be put to sleep, and I was there with her when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
God had let Lucky die. He did not make her well as I had prayed for over and over again. Lucky was dead, not healed. So what was the miracle here?
When the doctor declared Lucky dead, she and her assistants left me alone with Lucky. I held her and just cried. Then, I held my hands just above her body as a sign that I was giving her back to the Lord, and I felt something pass through my hands! It was warm, and it had a definite shape and substance to it, even though I could not see it. As it slowly rose and passed through my hands, I realized that I was feeling Lucky’s soul as it left her body, and in that moment, as she caressed me one last time, I knew that she was healed. God’s miracle was to let me feel Lucky’s soul pass into eternity so that I would know that He had heard my prayer and had made Lucky whole again. Even more, God also assured me that I would see Lucky again, when my own life's end finally brings me home.
Yet another miracle I see often is Provision. Cats need to eat even in a down economy, and trust me, our personal economy is about as down as it can get! I have been dealing with leukemia for nearly a year now. I was laid off when my store closed and have been unable to find another job. I work part-time at my church, and my wife works part-time in a grocery store. My cancer bills now total over $90,000 and my vet bill hovers around $3000. Somehow, money always appears when we need it, or someone will bring over a bag of cat food or some litter to get us through. God, in His miracles of provision, moves time, space, people, resources, and circumstance around us to make it possible for us to continue to take care of our cats and ourselves.
A third miracle God provides for us is Direction. In these miracles, God often uses resistance as a means to get my attention and get me on the right track. By this, I mean that God will unsettle me or trouble me in some way. Things that I am doing suddenly will not go forward. Answers will not come. Things will get out of hand. Solutions will not reveal themselves. Most people would chalk this up to bad luck, but I have learned that God is trying to get me to move in a different direction, so He makes it hard for me to move against His will and compels me to seek His way.
This new series, Confessions of a Cat Rescuer, is a result of God telling me to write about my experiences and share them with you. I’ve been on Hubpages for months now, and I always intended to write about cats, but things kept getting in the way. Now God has removed those obstacles so I can write in His time and at His direction. What will come out it I do not know, but I do know that God’s miracles of direction always keep me on the right path and eventually produce a blessing for me and for those who will read and be influenced by what He direct me to write.
The last miracle I want to mention is Protection, and hence the miracle that is sitting in my backyard. Two days ago, a major storm came through our area. Straight-line winds blew at upwards of 70 miles per hour. We have a cat shelter in our backyard, where 15 of our cats live while awaiting adoption. Between the shelter and our house is a very old, very large tree, or I should say that there was a tree there, until the storm came. The high winds caused this tree to snap at the base and fall directly towards the house and the cat shelter.
I was at church when the tree fell. My wife called me, hysterical, and told me that the tree had fallen. Because it was dark outside, she could not see the shelter well, but she could tell it had been hit. Pieces of lumber and parts of fencing littered the yard amidst huge branches and limbs. I rushed home, mentally preparing myself to have to pull dead, dying and injured cats out of whatever was left of the shelter. I also knew that some of the cats had probably ran off in fear. I planned to have my wife call some of our fellow rescuers to come and help with carriers, medicines, and towels to save the living and help recover the dead.
As I pulled up to the house, I could see the tree on the ground. I could not see the shelter and I just knew that it was devastated. But as I ran around the house, there stood the shelter, damaged but intact. When the tree fell, it split into two parts! One part, the part that would have destroyed the shelter, completely peeled away and lay to one side of the shelter. The other part of the tree headed for the house, but the peeling away of the second half literally pulled that part of the tree away from the house, so that the top of the tree just barely touched the top of the back porch! However, in being pulled away, that part of the tree, instead of hitting the house, hit the cat shelter.
The tree impacted against the outer entryway, which was essentially a second door and enclosed area that would keep the cats in whenever we were working in the shelter and had the inner door to the housing area open. The force of the impact was so great that it also took the inner door completely of its hinges. I could not even see the door, just a big, dark, gaping opening. Some neighbors came up at that point, and together, we cleared away the debris to get into the shelter. Now came the moment of truth. How many cats were injured? How many dead? How many escaped?
As I entered the shelter and shined my flashlight around, I was absolutely amazed. There, inside the shelter, sat the inner door. It was as if someone had just lifted it off the hinges and sat it aside. It should have been a projectile flying through the shelter, considering the force of the impact. If it had indeed blown through the shelter, it would have surely injured the cats. As my eyes became more accustomed to the dark, I could make out tiny forms all around me. I moved the flashlight and held my breath. As I shined the light around the shelter, one cat after another became visible, each sitting calmly and unharmed. I next checked the fenced-in courtyard, where the cats are able to enjoy the outdoors. To my amazement and great joy, no cat was dead! No cat was injured! No cat had run off! God had split the tree as it came down, then placed His hand over the open doorway to keep the cats from running away! It was indeed a miracle!
Now, I know that some people will still scoff at the idea of miracles, and they will criticize me for saying that these things I have seen and experienced are miracles. “If God really wanted to do a miracle,” they will say, “why does He not cure cancer, or stop wars?” Why does He not give you a job? Why did He let you get cancer in the first place? Why did He just not stop the tree from falling? My answer is simply this: If there were no needs, there would be no need for miracles. If there was no danger, no hurt, no illness, no tragedy, no struggles, there would be no miracles. And if there were no miracles, how would we ever know that there is a loving God who cares for us and works miracles on our behalf? Miracles do not take away the hurt, the pain, or the struggles. Instead, miracles make it possible for us to endure, survive, prosper, learn, and grow despite such things.
If it were not for the struggles, the cancer, the unemployment, and the uncertainty of life, I would never see the miracles.
And if it were not for my cats, I would have never learned to look for them in the first place. Thank you Lord, for cats and for miracles!