Our Connection to Animals

November 14, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Rachel Indihar –

I have a new cat in my household who is hiding beneath my desk. After spending her entire life (six whole years) with a kind human family, she was dropped into a strange environment with a strange new person. She stopped crying after an hour and occasionally lets out a pitiful, low “meow.”

My research from books and the internet tells me to leave her alone. Unlike humans, cats need to be left to themselves when frightened and upset. New territory and new company may be invigorating to some of us, but to a cat who prides itself on dominating its territory, such a big change can be depressing.

I play soothing music and try not to look her in the eye (cats hate a direct stare because they can see it as confrontational). It seems to work: she is sleeping and appears content. I feel a strange empathy with this animal, a sort of “connection” with her. I, too, have wanted to hide underneath something large and cower until the situation changes itself. I have felt abandoned and depressed, watching as the world swirls around me and uncomfortable situations present themselves.

My research tells me that a cat brought to a new home can stay in hiding for days or even weeks. Eventually, however, the animal will start to wander around its new environment and claim its territory. And, of course, human and pet bonding should start to develop around this time. Does a cat eventually forget about its previous household and companions? I can’t answer that question, but millions of cat owners have acquired an adult cat from somewhere else with no (permanent) harm done to the animal.

What about our own lives? Are our own lives as predictable as a cat’s? Do we know that eventually we’ll feel comfortable enough to come out from underneath the desk and explore confidently? This is perhaps where our connection with animals ends, for our lives and minds are more complicated than a household pet’s. But is there something we can learn from my cat’s experience?

Sometimes our lives seem out of control, as if God has lost the map for our lives and He is steering us off-course. Is this true? The Bible says it is not, for God knows the number of our days and exactly what happens in each of them (see Psalm 139:16). Nothing is a surprise to Him, and in that is our lifelong hope.

God sees us when we’re hiding underneath the desk, and He beckons with love for us to come out and face life confidently. Remember all of God’s promises in the Bible concerning His loved ones: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2 NIV).

If God will never leave us and all of our days are in His capable hands, why do we even seek a hiding spot? For “God is our refuge and strength”, ready to hold our hand when we stumble and when we seek an escape.

God calls us by our own name, just like I call my cat by her name: Minou (which means “kitty” in French). Are we going to respond to the Lord when He calls us, or are we going to hide? The choice is up to us.

About Rachel Indihar

Rachel Indihar is a teacher and assistant director at a Montessori school for early childhood. Her passion for people (especially children) allows her to serve the Lord in a variety of functions, but her real love is for writing. She strives to honor the Lord in what she writes and encourages others through what the Lord has taught her.
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