Shortly after my parents died, my wife and I received an unusual inheritance: Cinderella.
Cinderella is a 10-year-old cat who adopted my parents shortly after giving birth to her first litter of kittens when she was about one year old. She was a feral cat who gave birth in the pouring rain just outside the back door of my parents’ apartment.
When my parents heard the commotion, they checked to see what was going on and Cinderella, uninvited, carried her brood, one by one, into my parents’ apartment, placed them under their bed, cleaned them up, nursed them, and started motherhood.
The kittens were all eventually given to good homes, but Cinderella stayed with my parents and was loved and well cared for.
I find myself wondering what may have happened to her before she found a loving home. There are some things that still make her very, very wary. One is, she becomes very afraid when an attempt is made to pick her up. It’s only after she is held and petted for a few moments that she allows herself to relax.
There are emotional scars from her past that make her skittish these years later.
She is not much different than many people who have scars from past events. These scars are emotional and spiritual. They often come about because of unmet expectations they had of God, the Lord, or the church.
Some turn to God in a time of great need, try to make deals, and expect God to give them exactly what they desire, only to have those expectations not met their way.
Some give their life to Jesus and expect all their problems and trials to simply disappear, only to be disappointed when life continues to throw them curves.
Some join a church and expect to be among perfect people who will care for their every need, only to find out the church is full of people who struggle with matters in life.
These unmet expectations leave scars and make one wary, but you will find a comfort you did not expect if you allow yourself to remember the following:
•God does not necessarily give what you desire, but what you need.
•Jesus does not take away your problems and trials, but gives you strength, courage, and support to deal with them as they arise.
•The church is not full of perfect people, but filled with people who are willing and able to support and encourage one another on this journey of life.
Cinderella grows less fearful each time she realizes being picked up will give her loving attention. I hope that one day she will look forward to being held.
You will grow less fearful each time you trust God and realize God will do for you exactly what is needed at the time. Give God a chance.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.