Did you know that life and death stink? No, not in the way we usually think, but in another way? I’ll come back to that thought in a moment.
Does God have a particular avenue in which He speaks most plainly to you?
For me, one of those avenues is cats.
It was a black cat (among many other things) that God used to turn me to Him. And it is through cats that the Lord has taught me many valuable lessons. The most valuable is my sinfulness and my dire need for a Savior.
I had another lesson in that this week.
I had to take my rescue kitty, Stella…
…to the vet yesterday. She has been sick and losing weight for more than a week. My conscience has struggled and struggled with how to handle the situation. On the one hand she was a pitiful mess, but on the other hand she still had so much life left in her.
Yesterday was my breaking point. I had to do something. I had woke up from an awful dream and knew I had to do something with Stella. Not only was the enemy harassing me, but Stella could die if I did not act.
I called my Godly friend desperate for her to pray over me and my warring conscience.
…they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8
I wish I could say that I was some great animal saint who always and voraciously advocates on behalf of God’s creatures (by the way…evolution is a big fat lie) but I’m not. I’m a poor miserable sinner who struggles constantly in the flesh with not only my own horrifying lack of value for life, but with trust and faith issues. The struggle I had yesterday was whether or not to put my cat down because she was suffering so much, or step out in faith and trust that God would supply.
I called my brother (bawling my eyes out) and asked him if he would put my cat down, and when he
reluctantly said, “Yes, bring her out,” I hung up the phone, my body shaking with sobs. To make matters that much worse my emaciated Stella, at that very moment, came weakly hobbling out into the kitchen where I was sitting, and started purring (she has this deep, beautiful, vibrating purr) and rubbing against my leg.
I decided then and there that I couldn’t give the command to take her life in good conscience, no matter how much my mind wanted to justify my pending selfish actions under the
auspices guise of “being a good steward of God’s creation.” She just wasn’t at that point, yet.
All I could hear was Jesus whispering, “I love life. I created it. Honor me. Trust me.”
I said, “All right, Lord. I’ll do this, but you have to help me find a vet that’s open on Saturday, and you have to supply the extra money to pay the bill.”
I found a vet that was open till 1pm, called, and got her in. I called my brother back and left a message that I would not be bringing Stella out to have her put down.
At the vets they took x-rays and found out that she was constipated. Not just constipated but MEGA constipated. The Doctor had another word for it which I don’t remember, but the x-ray showed a massive back up. When I talked to the Doctor after her procedure he indicated that he took out 8-9 inches of impacted fecal matter the circumference of a half dollar. He said it took him 45 minutes and it was like chipping away at wood (what a way to start his Memorial Day weekend) because it was so hard and compacted. He then had to flush her insides with water, and warned me that she was going to stink because it had gotten in her fur as she lay under anesthesia on the operating table.
When they brought her out to me, the first thing I noticed was the horrible odor. She stunk to high heaven! But she was alive!
The vet explained everything he had done and told me that his concern was that having been clogged that long and that much, her bowel might now be paralyzed and unable to work properly, and he was concerned that her liver might be in failure. He told me I might have to force feed her for a week to get everything functioning properly.
I asked him how I was going to administer the liquid antibiotic? He had learned the hard way that you can’t mess with Stella’s mouth without getting nipped (did I mention she was half wild when we first rescued her?) He said, “Good luck with that because she’s a little Houdini.” In his delightful Indian accent.
I was praying the whole way home, even as the stink from Stella poured from the cat cage. But at least she no longer smelled of death. She smelled of second chances. She smelled of life.
Do you know what happened when I got her home? She hesitantly wobbled out of her cage and walked right into the kitchen and looked at me with her beautiful slanted gold eyes and started purring for something to eat. I gave her a little bit of cat food from the can the vet’s office gave me and she wolfed it down. No force feeding her, Hallelujah!!! I gave her another tablespoon, and this time squirted the antibiotic into it and mixed it around. I put it down in front of her, and after a finicky sniff or two (and fervent prayer on my part) she proceeded to wolf that down, too!!! No having to try to force antibiotics through her nipping teeth! What an affirmation! Praise the Lord!
All last night, my family was thankful for Stella being alive…even if she did stink! She has even earned the new nickname, Stinky.
This incident reminded me of a verse out of God’s Holy Word…
I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ.It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are dying. To some people we are a deadly fragrance, while to others we are a life-giving fragrance. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
These verses bring me back to my first point. Life and death have a spiritual odor. Jesus said
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; John 11:25
Jesus, The Life, used to stink to me, just like Stella does, even this morning. I used to stick my offended nose up in the air whenever I heard the Bible read or preached, but now, through faith, He, The Word made flesh, has become a pleasing fragrance. When I open up my Bible to read, I now take deep breaths. He smells so good!
I wonder what I must have smelled like to Him when I was still harboring sin in my heart? I wonder what I smell like to him now that, by His grace, I have repented and believe? Oh, yeah, that’s right…just like Stella. She may still have the lingering stink, but now, through the work of a gifted physician reaching in and cleaning out her insides, she has been given the fragrance of new life!
Harboring sin stuffs up the spiritual nose to the scent of breathing in True Life. Repent and breathe deep!
Don’t you know that wicked people won’t inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves! People who continue to commit sexual sins, who worship false gods, those who commit adultery, homosexuals, or thieves, those who are greedy or drunk, who use abusive language, or who rob people will not inherit the kingdom of God. That’s what some of you were! But you have been washed and made holy, and you have received God’s approval in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11
Do you think that, to Satan, Christians stink to “high heaven?”
Father God, we are paralyzed in sin. Thank you for freeing us and healing us from our stink and our disease. Jesus, you did that when you lived a perfect life for me, died on your cross for the propitiation of my sins, and rose again three days later! Jesus, You used to stink, but now you smell good to me. I pray others would find you a pleasing fragrance, too. Thank you for Stella, Orion and Comet, my kitty cats, and for veterinarians who bring your healing touch to your creatures here on earth. Hallelujah! Amen!