My family has named this stray cat Linda, but I call her Gandalf. I guess we’ll have to meet halfway and call her Linda the Grey.
Linda spends much of her day sitting at our door and waiting for food while playing games through the window with our other cat, Mrs. Norris. She now allows us to pet her and purrs loudly when we do. Our hands are kind of like magnets when we stick them out. She backs away as though to say, “No, no, don’t touch me,” and then sticks her body full force into our hands.
Linda is a bit of an enigma in that way. At this point we’ve left our door wide open for her to come in and join the family, but she’s too afraid—despite the fact that we’ve been feeding her every day for months now. I once picked her up and brought her in, but after I put her down inside, she immediately bolted out the door.
We’re under the impression at this point that she wants to come inside, but doesn’t know how to bring herself to do so. She just sits there, staring, even after eating. And it doesn’t matter how kindly I invite her. It doesn’t matter what I try to say to her. It doesn’t matter that I give her food and water and pet her. She’s simply too afraid to cross the line from outside to in.
This is the way that some of us view God—myself included at times. Though he makes it rain on both the just and the unjust and provides us with what we need, we’re afraid to get close. Though he reaches out to us with the gentle care of a Father, we fear it’s a hand of rebuke. Though the invitation to come inside is free and the door is wide open, we’re afraid of what might be on the other side. Though He does everything He can to make us aware of the invitation, we fear we might be misinterpreting the situation.
Christian or not, we often behave like Linda. No matter what God does to bring His love down to our level, we become afraid and misread the situation time and time again. Even when He comes to us as Jesus and allows Himself to be killed on our behalf, we still question His love.
But the door is open and this gift is free and His great love welcomes us to leave the cold behind and become a part of the warmth of His family. May we do so, and do so quickly.