My daughter loves animals and her family loves animals. When I visit, there’s usually a new rodent or rabbit to meet. Few were bought; most were found and rescued. Especially cherished by Tiffany is her rescued cat, Hemingway, who looks and acts like the cartoon Garfield. Hemi, as he is called, was declawed early in his career and he never goes outside — never, that is, unless the boys, ages 6 and 9, leave the door open. That’s probably how Hemi got out this time and he disappeared. Tiffany searched earnestly, even late at night more than once. She put out signs. She called veterinarians. She repeatedly checked at the animal shelter, so often that her husband finally told her to stop after 3 months.
About one month later, they took the boys to a birthday party on a Saturday and intended to stay, but Tiffany remembered an urgent errand. While running the errand, they happened to drive right by the animal shelter and Tiffany begged her husband to stop one more time. He reluctantly agreed. There, to her great surprise, she found Hemi, very thin and having a very bad hair day. He was on death row! The attendants told her he would be “put down” at 4 p.m. and it was nearly 3:45. They would not give him to her unless she could prove he had a rabies shot within the last year or at least that she had paid for a shot. They affirmed mercilessly, more than once, that they would lock the door at 4 p.m. sharp and would not reopen it. All the veterinarians she frantically called were not in their offices, so she called PetSmart to ask for help. They had a vet on duty! She raced there, paid for the right piece of paper and raced back with a minute or two to spare, only to be told she would owe $79 for five days of room and board. This, in the same facility where she’d posted photos of Hemi and asked everyone to watch for him. She gladly paid it, retrieved Hemi who would not come out of the cage for the attendant and she took him home. Only God knows how he stayed alive for 4 months, but now he was home, clean, fed, snuggled and played with. He had been rescued again!
Moral of this cat story, told by this non-catlover? There are probably several. You may want to draw your own, but my choice is this. My daughter is adopted and is fiercely loved by her adoptive parents. She couldn’t be more loved by anyone but God Himself. In a sense you could say she was rescued early in her life. In turn, she has rescued many others, both people and pets. I wish I could tell you all the people stories, but this cat rescue paints the picture. She was rescued in order to rescue others. The same is true of you and me. “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
Isn’t that the Good News? Everyone of us needs to be rescued from ourselves, our lostness, our sin and guilt. We may not be on death row, but eternity is closer than we admit. The real story of Christmas is not about a fat sleigh driver with gifts, so much as it is about God’s rescue operation. He sent His Son as a helpless baby, in need of rescue when Herod started killing the babies of Bethlehem. That rescued baby became our Rescuer when he went to the cross and died in our place. He was rescued to rescue, and so are we. Do you value your own rescue? Have you thanked your Rescuer lately? Are you alert to others whom you may be able to help rescue? It may be costly, but they’re worth it. When Christmas comes, celebrate it by praying for people you are equipped to help in a unique way and then help them. Your mercy to them, your rescue could release them to rescue many others — to the glory of God in the highest!
Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey. All rights reserved.