In late 1996, when I started my first Under The Shadow Of His Wing website using nothing but a WebTV unit and lots of patience, my husband was also writing some articles for the site. I dedicated a section of the site just for his articles and I called it Dan’s Corner. This article was written prior to mid-1998. This is one of my favorites from Dan’s Corner. I hope it becomes a favorite for you, too.
Binky Cat, The Prodigal – One Lost Cat Comes Home
From Dan’s Corner
I knew at the time that there were lessons to be learned from this experience. These lessons were finally made apparent to me a few days ago.
We have a little black and white cat named Blitz. Like many cats I know, he is seldom addressed by his real name. We’ve always called him Binky. Binky is nine years old and he’s always been an inside cat. And he’s always been very timid. One day toward the end of December of last year Binky turned up missing. We searched the house thoroughly thinking that he may have gotten stuck someplace. That was no good. We turned our attention, with much more concern, outside. As we combed the neighborhood we wondered how he could have gotten out. We also wondered why he would have wanted to get out. Didn’t we provide for all his needs? What more could he want? Having no children, our cats are the closest thing we’ve ever had to having kids of our own. So when the outside search yielded no Binky, we were quite upset. Especially since our last outside cat became an automobile fatality three months prior.
Fearing the worst, and having done everything in our power to recover him, we prayed and committed him into God’s hands. We were sad for our loss. Three weeks later the gentleman who owns a business on the property adjacent to our house said that he saw a black and white cat run under his storage trailer.
We went to investigate, and sure enough, it was Binky! However, he had became a totally different cat. He wouldn’t respond when we tried to call him, and when he saw us coming he bolted in fear. I was a little perplexed and a little irritated with him. This behavior went on for another month. I would leave him bowls of food and he would ignore me and run like heck back under the trailer if he saw me coming. Our other neighbor had a live trap that they set in hopes of capturing him, but Binky was a little too smart to fall for that one. We held out hope and prayed for his return as I continued to feed him.
We had our theories about him. We thought maybe one of his parents had been a wild cat. That might explain his sudden need for the outdoors. We thought the neighboring business’ security dogs may have scared him out of his wits. We thought a lot of things.
Finally, late one afternoon as we were heading out to do some shopping, I stopped over with his food and saw him sitting on top of a pallet nearby. As I approached, he jumped down and ran away. Or so I thought. But he hadn’t run away! He was sitting looking at me. I called his name and he jumped up on to another pallet. Was he beginning to recognize me? We’ve had him since he was a baby. I couldn’t be that forgettable, could I? As I continued to call to him he began to meow. “Binky . . . meow . . . Binky . . . meow . . . .” He did recognize me! Then he came to me! I gave him the cat food I had brought and he began purring and rubbing on me. My wife said she almost began crying as she watched from the car. I soon carried home a skinny, dirty, stinky and very happy little black and white cat. It took a couple of weeks of hissing and posturing before our other three cats accepted him back into the house. Now he’s put most of his weight back on and everything is status quo once again.
Last Sunday night, as we were in the intercessors’ prayer meeting before the evening service, our pastor said that he felt the Lord had placed on his heart a burden of prayer for the backslider. When he asked us to pray for those believers who had fallen away my mind turned to the story about Blitz. And the Lord began to tie some things together for me regarding that experience. How much are we, at times, like that cat?
If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the Lord who is my refuge — then no harm will come to you. No disaster will come near your tent. — Psalm 91:9-10
Like Binky, we can get out of our dwelling place. When we do, that conditional IF kicks in. We’ve been given free will. If we decide to split, the Master of the house is not obligated to cover us. We may step out just an inch to see what’s out there, we may leap out when discouragement and doubt visit us, or we may be dancing the rebellion reel. Once out we become a prime target for the adversary. If he gets his hands on a stray lamb, he will try to carry it as far away from the Shepherd as possible. Binky was enticed by what might be on the outside. After he jumped through the torn screen on the front door he was gripped by fear and confusion and got lost. So do believers that backslide.
If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the other ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one who wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the other ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. — Matthew 18:12-14
While Binky’s departure was worrisome and aggravating, we wanted to find him and bring him home very much. Hey, we love the little guy! God loves His lost ones, too. I have slid some in my life. I had become discouraged and angry and I hardened my heart to God. Reflecting back on that time, I know He was calling my name and looking out for me while I ran from Him. Much the same way that I had tried to make contact with and care for a lost cat who largely disregarded my efforts. The Lord also admonishes His saints to try and reach His lost cats. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” I appreciated my neighbors help and encouragement in trying to catch Binky. The Lord has endless grace for His beloved backslider.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, You are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. — Psalm 139:7-8
In trying to understand why Binky didn’t just come home, it occurred to me that he had lived in this house for some time. Being an inside cat, he didn’t know what the house looked like from the outside. From his viewpoint he might as well have been in China or on the moon. He was only fifty yards from the house all along, but in his little mind he was lost. Lost! Many of us become separated from God and we think we are unrecoverable, unlovable or unwanted. God’s house can be right in front of us but our perceptions get so clouded with sin and the world that we don’t recognize it. Truth is, no matter how far we think we’ve wandered from God, He is always right there. I remember a song that said, “You can walk a thousand steps away, but it’s only one step back.”
As I was with Moses, so will I be with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. — Joshua 1:5
God is always there for His beloved children who wander and He wants very much to restore them to fellowship.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. For this son of mine was dead, and is alive again, he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. — Luke 15:20 and 24
God loves us so much that He will continue to call to those who are like little lost cats. He hopes that they will one day recognize His voice and come to Him. On that day, with a tear of joy in His eye, He will carry them back skinny, dirty, and stinky to His house to once again wash them in the Blood of the Lamb and make them whiter than snow.
Quite a lesson from such a little cat.