As time went on, and it appeared she wasn't leaving, we decided to name her Cali, short for "calico." We put food out every day for her, trying to make her feel more comfortable around us. She greets me every morning when I walk Gabi, our Terrier, walking right up to the dog as if they are best friends. In fact, they will stand there for several seconds, saying hello, nose to nose. But when I bend over as if to pet her, Cali will back away, absolutely refusing to allow me to touch her.
The closest I get to touching Cali is when I walk Gabi late at night before going to bed. She'll come down the driveway and head straight for Gabi so they can do their nose-to-nose routine. Once she even passed between me and Gabi, and I thought she was finally comfortable enough for me to reach down and pet her. But she would have none of it.
It's become our nightly ritual. She gets close. I reach down to pet her. She backs away a step or two, just out of reach. I try that several times, always without success. Finally, I say out loud, "Okay, Cali, perhaps tomorrow."
But when I said that the other night, it struck me: My Father provides everything I need, and like Cali the Cat, I've come to expect His blessings. But sometimes--too many, in fact--I don’t let Him get close enough to touch me. He patiently pursues me, but He doesn't chase me because He knows this has to be my decision. Even before I was born, He sent Jesus to die for my sins: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
And He never gives up. Perhaps after I've backed away from Him yet again, He may say, "Okay, perhaps tomorrow." And tomorrow He tries again because He loves me so much.
Psalm 23: 6 tells us "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life." That verse gives us much comfort, but it is much stronger than you think! The Hebrew word for "follow" is the word used for a pursuing army. It carries the idea of "surely goodness and love track me down." And you know why? Because God loves us that much.
Are you like Cali the Cat? Your Heavenly Father has pursued you day after day, year after year, because He loves you that much. Through the dark times of your life, the bad decisions, the mistakes, the outright rebellion and rejection of His love, He still reaches out to you.
I'm still trying with Cali, and one day she will trust me enough to let me touch her. But there is more at stake with our Heavenly Father. Will you trust Him enough to let Him touch your heart--today?
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com