I have a bit of a morning routine. I like to wake up before the sun, put on my fashionable (yet masculine) robe and shuffle into the kitchen to make a small breakfast and coffee. Once the food and hot bean water are steaming and on the table, I sit down to read the Bible and pray.
I also have a dumb cat.
Don’t get me wrong; she’s a nice cat. She’s just not enrolling in any honors training classes at PetCo, if you get my drift.
Her routine has begun to mirror mine in the mornings. After I shuffle into the kitchen and place my breakfast on the table, she is usually shuffling in as well – her eyes thoroughly drowsed from a night of sleeping after an exhaustingly full day of sleeping.
Instead of eating and reading the Bible (I fear she’s agnostic), she checks to see if I’ve dropped any crumbs on the floor for her to eat and then slowly meanders to a nearby window. There, she sits and looks out into the calm dusky morning for minutes on end.
Yesterday, after having just poured a nice dark roast, I sat down to read, as is my custom. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flashing black streak convulsing and whipping through the cold kitchen air.
I looked over to see my dumb cat’s tail thrashing around as her breath lightly fogged the window where her dumb face was affixed. Her eyes were darting about wildly, following what I assumed had to be a swarm of giant locusts, or a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” to warrant such violent concern from her beady little eyes.
Wondering what was causing such a traumatic and tremendous tumult, I shuffled over to the window to see what had stirred her into this frenzy.
It was a leaf. To be fair, at times there were up to three leaves blowing around in the air, but mainly, my dumb cat was overwhelmingly filled with anxiety and concern over a leaf rustling about in the wind.
I looked down at my dumb cat in pity. She looked up at me with frenzied concern.
I shuffled back to my chair.
Returning to what I was reading, I reread these verses in Psalm 1 talking about the one whose delight is in God’s Word and instruction:
“He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
that bears its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
The wicked are not like this;
Instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.”
Immediately, my mind went to those few leaves scattered at the mercy of the swirling wind. They were dead. Dry. Hard. Blown by whatever direction the air took them. They were harmless… “like chaff that the wind blows away.”
But then I remembered my dumb cat. To her, they were alive. They were strange, disruptive, unpredictable, eccentric, and alarming!
Sometimes the wickedness in the world causes me alarm. Whether it is wicked ideologies or those who hold to them, it seems the noise and movement of those who oppose God always hold more of my attention, concern and mindfulness than they should. It is easy for me to let anxiety and “what ifs” control my mind more than the peace of God through Christ in the Gospel.
But while these things may be active, loud and create a great stir, they are ultimately harmless. They are dead in their sin and transgression just as Ephesians 2 reminds me how I was – blown about by every cultural whim and ideology.
What my dumb cat showed me was a look at my own anxieties and the way I often look at the world. I often give bad news on my Twitter feed much more thought and concern than the pages of Scripture that point me to the living God who has overcome the world.
The Gospel gives us an overarching and undergirding confidence that, regardless of who or what holds the headlines and sound bites, it is ultimately God who holds the future. He also holds the present. He also holds us.
Let the leaves blow where they may. Let the chaff fall with the wind. Let the powers of this world have their day and make their noise.
God is sovereign. God is good. God is in control.