God created us to be feeling beings, and many times, our emotions can be our safeguard. A knotted stomach can signal danger, frustration or anger can stir us to pray. But our feelings can also be deceiving. There are times when we can’t feel God’s presence, but that doesn’t mean He’s left us. In fact, the opposite is true, for God Himself promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
Through the Eyes of Bear by Deborah K. Anderson
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
(Psalm 46:1 KJV)
Several years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. At the same time, my elderly mother suffered a second mini-stroke, followed by a fall. In addition, I was going through personal trials of my own. I desperately needed a touch from God.
No matter what I said, though, or how hard I prayed, I couldn’t hear God’s voice or feel His presence. I pressed on anyway, hoping to move the heart of God.
“God, where are you? Why do all these things keep happening?” I hung my head and wept.
I looked down at him, and as usual, the black ball of fur tugged at my heart with one glance.
“What are you crying about?” I picked him up, scratched behind his ears, and kissed the side of his face. I knew if I coddled him a bit, he’d go back about his business. Soon, he began purring, so I put him on the floor. Within seconds, he started meowing again.
“What is wrong with you?” I said. He just looked at me. I was sure the poor critter was sensing my feelings, so there would be no shutting him up any time soon.
I headed downstairs, hoping to find a quiet place to pray. As I reached the last step, Bear’s paws came padding down the stairs behind me.
Please, God, make him go lie down or something. I can’t take much more.
But the little critter persisted following me through the house, no matter where I went.
I finally ducked into the living room, thinking I had lost my private-eye kitty. Seconds later, he jumped in lickety-split behind me.
I threw my hands up. “Okay. That’s enough! What are you crying about? I’m standing right here in front of you. Why do you keep howling at me?”
As I looked in my animal’s eyes, something strange happened.
Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Bear. He had suddenly grown quiet, his golden eyes wide in wonder. I then noticed how he’d tugged at my heart without ever making a sound—the same way I had tugged at God’s heart, only I didn’t realize it at the time.
I picked up Bear and rested him over my shoulder. I began stroking his fur. Soon, he was purring, content in my arms.
“Father, forgive me,” I said.
It still amazes me how God used my cat’s eyes to open mine. Perhaps it was because of the love I had for this beautiful creature. God knew how to get my attention. Whatever the reason, I’m so glad that He did.
When the storms of life come our way, it can be so difficult to see, especially when the rain begins pelting us. But God is always there, even when we don’t think that He is. It’s during those times we can find rest in His arms.
Deborah has written stories for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, SCBWI, FCW, and YALITCHAT.ORG. Married 31 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. Deborah recently completed a supernatural suspense novel for young adults. You can contact her at: DAnderson955@aol.com. Visit her blog at: www.deborahkanderson.com.
Let’s talk about this! Share a time when, during a time of sadness or difficulty, God made Himself real to you or let you know He was with you. We all have moments when our feelings betray what we know to be true. What do you do when God feels distant? Do you have any verses you like to remember or meditate on? One of my favorites is James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. I claim this as a promise, reminding myself that the moment I turn to God in prayer or worship, He is already taking three steps toward me, whether I feel His presence or not.
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