Hudson's an indoor cat, a stance I took after our last indoor / outdoor cat had an unfortunate run-in with a passing car. But Hudson hasn't reconciled himself to this state of affairs. After a few tentative ventures onto the front porch when we took our dog out to potty (and failed to shut the door completely), he's been attempting to sneak outside.
Today his wildest dreams were realized when we left to go school shopping (I finally broke my tradition of racing to do it a few days before school starts) and someone left the front door ajar. My eight-year-old was flying solo, so he did the hunt through the house as we called for Hudson. But no caramel-colored cat came sauntering out.
We prayed and then TDH (tall, dark & handsome) slipped on his sandals and said he'd go looking for him. I was a bit surprised and touched. He and Hudson haven't exactly bonded. Though he didn't make it farther than the side yard where I found him pulling weeds.
I went to pick up our eleven-year-old twins from youth group, biting down several nails as I wondered how I was going to break the news. Especially to my tender-hearted daughter.
Halfway home, I took a deep breath and explained that the front door had been open while we were shopping and Hudson had gone on an adventure. Stricken blue eyes dashed toward mine and I quickly added that Hudson would likely show up in the morning when he was hungry. Not wanting to get hopes too high, I added that he might have packed a big knapsack and wouldn't be back for a couple days.
She calmed some, so I added, "He'll probably come back with a couple tattoos." A slight mile emerged and she said, "Yeah, he'll probably have shaved his whiskers."
I was grateful that they could see it as Hudson's grand adventure and not slide into gut-wrenching panic.
After dinner, TDH redeemed himself from the weed-pulling detour and after praying for Hudson's safe return, glanced out the front door and there he was, hunkered down below the porch, eyes wide and fearful. We gave him space and he launched himself toward the open door, body low to the ground, fast as a missile as if one of us would capture him and toss him back into the darkness.
It brought to mind a conversation I'd had with my daughter earlier in the day. She'd been tormented with guilt and shame by a choice she'd made earlier and had difficulty forgiving herself. Like Hudson, she couldn't see through her own poor choice to the love and forgiveness waiting with arms stretched out.
We talked through salvation and how Jesus on the cross took all sin on himself, receiving God's anger in our place. He lived out our jail sentence.
She pondered that and then with a bit of skepticism asked, "God's not angry with us?" I told her he wasn't. She processed that and then with a bit of wonder she asked, "Not even a little bit?" I told her that he wasn't angry in the least and that because of what Jesus did, we have God's pleasure and delight in us.
God then did one of those cool things He does for us, and in a nanosecond deposited a whole revelation into my mind. I saw a little girl standing in the righteous robes of Christ while the enemy of our souls stood nearby slinging mud onto her—rejection, anger, insecurity, hurt . . . and while none of the mud could stick, he held up a mirror and spoke lies that made her believe she was covered in the filth of hell.
But we don’t have to believe those lies. We can soak in the truth of our forgiveness and redemption—which is defined as our deliverance or rescue.
Jesus is the great Rescuer and God awaits us with arms stretched wide.
(Art by: Brielle Sand)