Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. Psalm 40:11-12 (NIV)
I could not figure out why my two little cats had been so agitated. They were always on edge and disappeared for long periods of time. They used to come up to the house often and appeared to tease the dogs with their games. Before, they were always calm and relaxed and seemed above the fray even when chased up into a tall pine tree. Now, they were jumpy and always looking over their shoulders. When a week went by with their unusual behavior, I grew concerned. I finally realized that Lucy had learned to squeeze her way between the stall wall and the gate of the area where the cats had made their home. They like to sleep on the hay under the tarp that covers it and protects it from the rain. Not only could Lucy chase them into their space, but also she learned to pull the tarp off of them. She also realized that by standing up on her hind legs, she could knock their food dish on the ground and help herself to their meal. The cats never knew when they would be invaded and tormented and be left without dinner. Worse, the two dogs devised a way to team up on them. Lucy would flush them out of hiding while Sky waited outside the gate to snatch them up when they appeared. Without a place to retreat, they were uneasy about venturing out into the pasture and in time, decided to hide out in the neighbors yard instead. I placed boards across the pasture gate, but Lucy managed to dig under them. I covered the feed room gate with chain link fence and wrapped it tight around the pole, but she could still get through. I placed a bucket in her path. She pushed it over. Finally, I set a board in place that covered the gap between the gate and the wall to keep her out. That worked. The difference in the cat’s behavior was amazing. They quieted down and relaxed and started to play again. I never had to go looking for them in other people’s yards. They stay in their sanctuary safe and secure. When it comes to dealing with sin, we also need to set barriers to protect us from temptation. Two things that we can always rely on to keep us safe are God’s love and His truth. His great love for us draws us close to Him and helps us remember the sacrifice He made for us. It shows us that even when we have made a mistake, we can come running home to Him and He will forgive us once again. His truth helps us make wise choices and to know that the lies that Satan would have us believe will backfire and bring us great harm. My kittens have learned to hide behind the board I set in place to protect them. Make God’s love and truth your fortress in times of difficulty as well.