Oct 302015

IMG_0027Miss Kitty was sick.

Thus, I was grief stricken.

Our little church had already lost two beloved members recently with the passing of Beardsley the cat and Roxy the dog.

In our group, pets are not possessions, they are much loved companions.

Sadness abounded already and it seemed my sharing of it would become even more personal.

Like most of you, vet bills aren’t in my budget, but I couldn’t afford to lose her either.

I called the cat doctor early in the morning…there were no appointments available until that evening.

That upset me, she needed help now.

I made the appointment for 5:00 PM.

Five minutes later, they called and told me to bring her in now.

Miss Kitty had never been in a cat carrier or in a car and when placed in both she cried for the first time in her life.

She was terrified of the journey.

I was terrified of the journey.

I’d never taken a cat to the vet and brought one home…it was always the place where I had to say goodbye.

This is pretty much where the story I want to tell begins.

When I carried my sick friend into the lobby of the clinic I lost it.

“It” being any composure or dignity I possessed and Lord knows I value both more than most.

Through many tears I gave them the information they needed and the kind soul at the desk quickly moved us into an examination room.

She took the time to try to comfort me and treated Miss Kitty as if she were one of her family members.

After the initial checkup she advised me to let Miss Kitty roam the room and get more comfortable… so Miss Kitty and I sat on the clinic floor to wait for the doctor.

Soon enough the door opened and I began to rise to my feet…just as the doctor plopped down on the floor.

The whole examination was conducted on the floor.

This good doctor met us where we were.

He was there not just to heal, but to comfort.

He was there for us.

He made his diagnosis, gently put Miss Kitty in her carrier, and led us out to the lobby again.

I was apologizing profusely for my emotional state all the way out.

The doctor and his assistants assured me that there was no shame in being broken by the situation…the shame would be if I were not.

This morning, Miss Kitty ate a lot and went about the business of her day feeling feline fine.

You know where I’m going with this…

The church is supposed to be a place where broken sinners can go and receive the comfort of God and God’s people.

People who will get down on the floor with you and wait together with you for the Great Physician.

It’s supposed to be a place where shame is replaced with a song of redemption.

It’s supposed to be a place where brokenness is a shared experience.

We have a Doctor who will meet us where we are…and love us to a better place.

The journey is often terrifying, but He will not only meet you at the end, He will be present as you go.

It will cost you, but it’s worth it.

There isn’t another place to go.

You can get an instant appointment.

Make your own application…

  20 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Excellent!

  2. Thanks, G. 🙂

  3. What you are describing is pretty much the diametric opposite of what I experienced at Calvary Chapel.

  4. Disillusioned,

    It’s been the opposite of what many have experienced in many places.
    We desperately need to change that…

  5. Always good to have some cat theology Friday morning, Great Miss Kitty is back to give inspiration.

  6. Amen.

  7. Thanks, AA, The Dude…I’m glad she’s back too.

  8. When I had cancer, many good Christian friends came to talk to me and to comfort me. I found that many really didn’t know how to “get on the floor” with me and instead offered me statements like, “God has this. You’ll be fine.” And that was true, but people really found it hard to hold my hand, sit with me, weep with me, and not offer hope about a future that seemed so far away at the time when what I wanted in the immediate was someone to cry with me. Maybe they felt that was too personal and weren’t sure they could go there with me.

    I wondered after that if people in the church just don’t know how to weep with the broken, and sit with them and not say a word.

    Soon after that, I had a terribly family tragedy and the same thing happened. No one was there to sit and cry with me. They were there to chat, offer hope, tell me that God had my back and things would be ok, but not one could sit, hold my hand, and cry with me. Sometimes I thought it was me. I am an intense, strong personality. Maybe people don’t want to get that close to me. Maybe I didn’t open the door for them to come and feel my heart. I don’t know. Maybe they just thought that because I’m so strong that I didn’t need them.

    I don’t know. But I know that I cried alone and God made Himself present in those tears and He comforted me, but I could have used some friends who could cry with me. As a result I read Job again and studied his counselors and somehow found comfort in what he went through because I related to it.

  9. Judy,

    We lost the ability to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn when we moved from the family model to a corporate model in the church.
    There’s no crying allowed at work…

  10. Good word.

    I’m reading through Job now, and early on, his friends come and sit with him and say nothing for a week.

    If you need to cry at church, someone will call for a pastor to minister to you. It shouldn’t be that way. The Body should minister to the Body.

    My two cents.

  11. sometimes i feel guilty for being thankful that Michael perseveres in this endeavor to call out the evils that dominate church life today – as i’ve said before, if i didn’t believe in the devil, i couldn’t worship God, but i do tell Him on occasion that a thousand years may go by quickly for Him, but it sure is a long haul down here on the battlefield… so many good old hymns going thru my mind right now, they remind me that it hasn’t been easy for most to follow Christ – well, that’s not quite right because the sum of it is, not following Him is a dark place with a bad end

    God keep all the Michaels and i thank You, Lord for this one

  12. I LOVE this TGIF! I love you all the more! I am so very relieved that Miss Kitty is feeling better, and her first trip to the vet wasn’t her ‘last’….. Thank God for answered prayers and for wonderful caring veterinarians.

    It’s a beautiful illustration and application of how ministry ‘should’ be…. In most cases, the location of that sort of ministry will not be the ‘building’ or ‘meeting place’ or with any crowd, but, IMO, more likely at the kitchen table over coffee, tea or a meal…. (or at my house, the massage table) or some other surprising location.

    Thank you Man-Who-Loves-Cats, for being so transparent and real.

  13. BTW, don’t faint…. we’ve attended a Calvary Chapel the last two Sundays and –gasp– loved it…..

  14. Love this one, Michael.

    We had a similar experience with a wonderful vet last week. It came time to put to rest our faithful lab cross dog. The vet reassured us that we’d given him a good, long life, and helped us to consider the possibility that we’d see him again one day.

    People who emulate God are treasures….

  15. So glad Miss Kitty is feeling better … thanks so much for sharing from your heart … great lesson!

  16. Beautiful story, and so glad Miss Kitty is feeling better. Like Disallusioned above, this most definitely was not our experience at Calvary Chapel when we went through a very difficult time.

  17. Well written, Michael, and so happy to hear your sweet girl is better! 🙂

  18. Paige, Linnea, Nancy Rebecca, mk… thank you all for the kind words.

  19. Thank you for writing that Judy.

  20. This post came at a good time.
    Lots of sadness, grief and uncertain futures in the people around me right now.
    The last few months have been emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. It’s only time for a short breather I’m afraid till the next wave hits.
    Sometimes it gets overwhelming and it feels like people really just don’t “get it” even when I’m asking for help.
    Our community is hurting after two senseless murders, of a child and an officer. My work mate is suffering unbearable emotional pain enduring his wife’s illness with no end in site, a young friend called and said she has a brain tumor that has a good chance of leaving her child motherless.
    People are in pain, and honestly, sometimes in feels like that pain will crush the life out of you.
    I don’t know how people endure for so long or what to do about it.
    Prayer seems so futile and the suffering for broad. The church, too busy building its debate societies and country clubs, is impotent.

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