A gray streak shot across the driveway as I pulled my shop truck up to the door of my business. “What was that,” I thought, as I got out of my truck and unlocked the door. It was time to open my shop for the day. I had a very busy day scheduled and was in a hurry to get started. As I turned on the lights and opened the garage door, I heard a soft meow. As I walked outside, the meow became louder and more insistent. I heard, “Meow, meooow, meoooooow.” Then I saw the source of the sounds, a gray kitten.
When the kitten saw me, it came running towards me. As I tried to get started on my first job of the day, the kitten was weaving through my legs, rubbing against me, meowing loudly. “Someone has dumped this poor kitten beside the road,” I thought. Then I thought several unkind thoughts about the kind of person who would dump their animals on the road like that. I was too busy as I went about my work to pay much attention to the abandoned kitten.
When my Daddy came to work about a half-hour later, the kitten immediately started rubbing against him. When he sat down in his chair, the kitten jumped up on his lap. A few minutes later, the kitten was sitting on his shoulders and climbing onto his head. As I looked closer at the kitten, I saw that although it was mostly gray, It had brown and red spots. It looked a bit like a calico, but I had never seen a cat colored like it before. Later I found out that the coloration on the kitten is called dilute calico.
Calico cats are tricolored. Their coat is made up of three colors, white, black, and brownish-red. Calicos have white as their primary color, with the other colors being secondary. However, a dilute calico is exactly that – diluted. A dilute calico normally has a coat of grey, silver, and reddish-gold. The colors are not as distinct as a normal calico’s. Instead, they sometimes appear blended and smudged together.
When a friend of mine, who is a fellow car collector, stopped by a bit later, the kitten made friends with him. He said, “you should name the cat Patina because the rust-colored spots remind me of the patina on an old car.” Lately, there has been a lot of discussion in the car world about “patina,” that old, imperfect finish that speaks to a car’s age and wear. Some collectors are choosing to leave the exterior of the cars that they are refurbishing in their original condition, not repairing and repainting the body. The marks and blemishes on the exterior are like battle scars that become sources of pride, demonstrating that a car is an original survivor.
Patina, the cat, tried hard to make friends with everyone who stopped by my shop that day. I’m not sure I have ever seen as friendly a cat as Patina. My Daddy and I offered to give the cat to each person who paid attention to it. But no one wanted a free kitten. Daddy made a sign that said, “Free Kittens,” and placed I out beside the highway. It was late afternoon, and we still had not found a new home for Patina. When a young lady came to pick up her car after I had repaired the windshield, Patina ran out to meet her. She picked the kitten up and was petting it. After she paid for the work I had done on her car, she asked, “are you really giving this kitten away?” I told her that the kitten had been abandoned and needed a new home. If she wanted the kitten I would be happy to give it to her. When she left, I don’t know who was happier, the gray calico kitten or its new owner.
The kitten had been abandoned by its previous owner, but now was happy to be adopted into a new family. You and I are also adopted. We are adopted into the family of God. How did we become adopted? The Bible tells us that by believing in Jesus, we gain the right to become God’s children. John 1:12,13 (NLT) says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
Our Father in Heaven does not show favoritism between His family members, and neither should we. In His eyes, we are united together as one family, a family that is connected through His son, Jesus Christ. Too often, we abandon fellow family members. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10 (NIV)
I am amazed by how many of my customers suffer from loneliness. I can sense the loneliness as I talk with them. But there is something worse than being lonely, and that is feeling abandoned. Many lonely people also feel abandoned by family, abandoned by friends, and abandoned by God.
You can sense how abandoned David feels when he wrote, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” Psalms 13:1 (NKJV) When David wrote this, he was hurt, vulnerable, discouraged and fearful. David’s words express his fear that God has rejected and abandoned him.
Gentle Reader, have you ever felt this way? You may have endured something very difficult. In this life, people are often powerless to help us, and even loved ones fail us. But to feel abandoned by God is the worst agony because without God there is no hope. You can know that God has not abandoned you. “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39 (NCV) You may feel abandoned, but it isn’t God who abandoned you. It is God who adopted you. “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children.” 1 John 3:1 (NCV)