Recently, I was taking care of the pets at the house of one of my daughters while she and her family were on vacation.
Just a couple of days before they left, they welcomed another arrival into that group for whom I would be responsible. Their large Husky had found a small kitten inside its fence. Fortunately, they were able to rescue the tiny creature from injury before the dog treated it like a play toy.
Maybe the traumatizing encounter with their canine is part of the reason for it, but so far this kitten lives up to the title “scaredy cat”. It acts like it wants to be loving and friendly – meowing and rubbing up against objects as someone talks to it and puts out its food.
But it backs away from letting anyone get too close, especially shying away from any attempts to reach out to touch or pet it.
My guess is that over time this feline will warm up to people. With a little patient love and care, I think my daughter’s family will help the kitten learn there are humans it can trust.
Some people have a similarly hard time trusting God. They want to get to know Him, but they’re afraid to do so. This big, Almighty God can seem so overwhelming at times, as well He should.
Or maybe His holiness reminds us of how unholy we are, causing us to back away in fear that such a God can’t tolerate impure, sinful creatures like us.
Peter seems to have expressed such feelings when he got one of his first glimpses at Jesus’ greatness.
After an unsuccessful night of fishing, Peter was instructed by Jesus to let down his nets again. When he did, they caught so many fish that their nets were breaking. The Bible records Peter falling down before Jesus at that point and saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).
Any of us may rightly feel a sense of inadequacy and unworthiness in the presence of God. The Bible talks about us fearing the Lord. However, it isn’t advocating for us to be scared to draw close to Him, but rather to respect Him, His holiness, His power, and His authority as the Ruler of the universe.
Some of us may have a desire to draw nearer to God and to let Him touch us with His love, but whenever He reaches out toward us, we pull back. We’re not sure we can truly trust Him. We may be afraid that if we get closer He might call us to do something we don’t really want to do.
Or we might be scared that He will want us to give up something we don’t want to forsake.
So we purr our spiritual sentiments and go through some religious motions, but we shy away from a total commitment of letting Him have His way in our lives.
What we need to remember is that God loves us. Yes, He’s powerful, holy, and worthy of the greatest respect. But, He’s our Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine.
However He wants to touch our lives, it’s going to be for our good. He wants to draw near to us in order to bless us. Anything He takes away from us or anything He tells us to do will be for our benefit.
So let’s not shy away from drawing closer to God. As He reaches out to us, we can be assured that it will be with a loving touch.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.