Meet Hunter (aka - Best Mouser on the Farm). She came to our family 3 years ago and has outlasted every other cat on our farm. I could name lots of reasons for this but mainly it's because ... she's careful and smart. Hunter is quiet (literally ... she barely makes a soft meow) and fairly timid. Not much bothers her. Most of the time, she keeps to herself. Hunter finds her own food (thus her Best Mouser title) and watches everything.
Last week, Hunter was missing more often than present. Even for her occasional bowl of milk just inside the patio doors ... she wasn't there. We all know her well enough to guess the reason ... kittens. Each evening, Jerry and I sat on our deck and quietly watched. Nothing. We started to worry. Hunter is a part of our small family. She was missing and being missed.
Wednesday afternoon, I had reached the limits of my worry (and curiosity). I pulled on my grubby sneakers, grabbed our large flashlight ... and went hunting for Hunter. The last time she crawled into my lap, I had smelled the strong aroma of warm hay. Only one place on the farm smells that sweet ... the hayloft. I climbed the ladder and sat in the entryway to the loft. I listened and waited. The breeze rustling leaves and stirring twine from the hay bales, passing cars and birds chirping ... then the quiet murmur of kittens. I followed the sound and was lead to the very back of the loft. Rectangular bales of hay blocked any close proximity to the sound. As with any litter of kittens before these, Hunter has picked a nest not easily reached. Out of a seeming nowhere, Hunter curled around my legs and walked lazily away from the bales. I know her, she was leading me away from her most prized possession. Hunter loves me. But, she loves her babies more. I patted her head. "Smart girl", I whispered. From that loft, she can survey the entire farm. No other animal can gain entry to Hunter's nest without first going past her.
I went back down the ladder. Jerry met me just beyond the barn. He and our oldest son had tried without success to find Hunter and her secret. I smiled, because ... I am the same as I was in my youth. If there were new kittens on our farm, I would find them. I was the only one patient enough (which is VERY surprising because I am not a patient person). Together, Jerry and I took food up to the loft. I sat on a bale and listened to the murmur as Hunter lapped up every bit of milk. She was starving. We had not seen her for 3 days and it seemed she hadn't left the loft at all during those days. As hungry as Hunter was, she stopped every few seconds and went to a bale at the very top ... peaked down at her secret, looked at me and back at her secret ... then, back again to eat. There was something very peaceful in that loft ... something sacred. I thought of my Savior and how He will go to any length for me. He would go without food or nourishment ... for me. Nothing can come near me without first being allowed by Him.
Sometimes, I feel as though He doesn't see the things that hurt me. If He did notice, wouldn't He stop them ... wouldn't He keep me from that hurt? I think it's 'human nature' to feel and think those things. Not nature in the way God created us but ... in the nature this world has corrupted His creation. I know the answers ... those things that seem too heavy to hold and too hurtful ... those things are molding and shaping me into the person He wants me to be. Knowing this Truth doesn't minimize the pain or trivialize the suffering. Knowing this Truth ... gives me an attainable 'calm in the storm' ... it's hard to find ... but it's there.
Each day, Jerry and I have taken Hunter something to eat. I climb the ladder and leave her treat just far enough inside the loft so as not to worry her. And, each day, she meets me on the ladder ... unwilling to let me go any closer.
Eventually, Hunter will let me come near and see what she has hidden. But, for now ... Hunter knows her babies need rest, nourishment and ... protection. For now, they need to be left in the care of the one who loves them most. When our family meets the new additions, it will be in Hunter's timing ... not ours. They'll be afraid at first ... unsure of something so much bigger than they are ... but, in time they will learn to trust us. And, I will wait because her timing (just like Christ's) is perfect.
James 1:2 - 3 "Consider all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers,And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler."