One of our neighbors showed up at my house yesterday morning quite upset. She lives alone with her cat. Kitty Baby is her only family here in Jackson. But four days ago, Kitty Baby was chased up a tree by a gang of wild dogs.
Merry and I went with her to look at the cat way up in the top of the tallest tree around. The fear was that the cat was tangled up in vines and couldn't get down, but as Merry and I prayed for the cat, it started moving from branch to branch. It didn't come down, but the movement at least assured his human companion that he was capable of getting down. We stayed for a while and prayed and talked. Someone from down the street heard the crying kitten and came with cat food in a bin and shook it long in hard of hopes that Kitty Baby would come down. He didn't.
Merry and I had to leave and get back to the ministry base, but we assured our neighbor that we would keep praying.
And we did. In fact, this morning, I told my children's church class about Kitty Baby and asked them to pray.
Just a bit ago, our neighbor came back. It is raining quite hard and the wind is blowing but Kitty Baby persists in clinging to his treetop retreat. The cat is like many of us. We run away to escape dangers or hurts, and for a while that place of safety is exactly that, a place of safety. But all too often, we stay in that place much longer than we need to and the very place that was initially a good place for us, becomes a trap. A place that actually is hurting us and even could be hurting the ones who love us. We are afraid of the process involved in getting back to normal. Sometimes the process is hard. It can even be dangerous, but it is absolutely necessary if we are going to live life to its fullest, and not stay isolated and stranded on the top of an old dying tree.
Tonight, I want you to pray for Kitty Baby and the neighbor who is worried sick over her kitten. But I also want you to do something else. I want you to ask yourself if you might be like that kitten. You're trapped in a place of your own making and you desperately need to take the steps necessary to be set free. The journey to freedom can be extremely difficult. You might have to face the demons of your past before you can be free from them. But that freedom is so worth it. You are worth that freedom and the people who love you are worth you being set free.
Just as my neighbor stands and sits and stands hour after hour calling up to Kitty Baby, encouraging him to come down, so our Savior is calling. He is waiting patiently and persistently for you to take those first steps.
But unlike Kitty Baby, who has to take the journey to freedom all on his own, you don't have to. The very Spirit of God is absolutely willing and able to actually give you the ability to take those first steps and God promises to empower you every step of the way. You just have to ask Him.
Kitty Baby is up in that tree howling and yowling. His master is powerless to help him.
Our God is not.
Our God is able to do anything and everything needed to bring you home.
[Jesus] came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act! ”He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”