A Longing Fulfilled

“The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.”

Proverbs 10:28

By Jennifer Marshall Bleakley, excerpted from the book Pawverbs for a Cat Lover’s Heart

“Mom! There’s a cat in our ditch!” twelve-year-old Andrew exclaimed, bursting through the back door. “It’s not a fox. It’s a cat!”

Ella, eight, jumped up. Her homework went flying as she ran to her brother.

“What?” she shrieked. “Are you serious?”

“Come on,” Andrew urged. “You too, Mom, come on!”

Jen pushed the cutting board filled with chopped vegetables to the center of the kitchen island—safe from the reach of their counter-surfing Golden retriever, Bailey. She couldn’t help but smile at her animated children. They were talking so fast she could barely understand what they were saying. She heard ditch, bushy-tailed, not fox, cat!

“We need to get her food,” Andrew declared.

“It’s a girl cat?” Ella shrieked again, clapping her hands.

Andrew nodded. “I think so. It’s all fluffy.”

Jen thought her daughter was going to swoon.

“A fluffy cat of my very own,” Ella whispered.

“Okay, you two,” Jen said, trying to temper the escalating euphoria. “The cat probably belongs to someone.”

Ella’s intense look got Jen’s attention. “Mommy,” Ella said as if she were talking to a child, “this is the cat we have prayed for. I just know it.”

After the children had begged Jen and her husband for a cat for years, Jen finally told her kids that if they ever found a stray cat, they could feed it and take care of it—outside. Jen had a severe allergy to cats that made keeping a cat in the house impossible.

But that didn’t discourage her determined kids. When Andrew was seven, he began praying every night for a cat. Soon his three-year-old sister joined him for the nightly petition. After several months passed without a miracle cat falling from heaven, the siblings’ prayers began to dwindle to once every couple of weeks. When several years had passed without a stray cat appearing on their doorstep, their prayers had all but stopped.

But now, taking charge with complete confidence, Ella opened the refrigerator, took out a slice of deli turkey, and announced, “My cat likes turkey.”

I guess Ella knows, Jen thought, following her kids outside.

Sure enough, there in the drainage ditch was a cat. The poor thing looked pitifully thin, with leaves and pine needles sticking to her coat and the long fur along her chest. When the three of them approached, she retreated into the large pipe that ran under the driveway. Andrew took the piece of turkey from Ella and squatted in the ditch. He didn’t move a muscle.

Within minutes, the nervous cat approached. She took a tentative nibble, then devoured the entire slice. Ella ran in the house to get more. Jen watched as the cat climbed into her son’s lap. His face beamed with joy.

Ella returned with the entire package of Boar’s Head turkey. Jen started to protest, but she took one look at the poor cat and decided that the least the animal deserved was $10.99-a-pound lunch meat.

Over the next few weeks, Jen sent messages to the neighborhood email group asking if anyone had lost a cat. The family even put up a few signs. But no one ever claimed Foxy, Ella’s choice for the stray’s name.

A month later, the family was sitting on their back deck finishing dinner when Foxy jumped up on the table. Bailey sprang from her nap to greet the cat with a sniff. Jen still couldn’t believe the friendship the two had formed. Ella stroked the cat’s thick, soft fur as she silently walked past her plate. Foxy then leapt from the table onto Andrew’s lap and began purring.

“See, Mommy,” Ella said with a smile. “God sent us a cat. It just took him a while to find us the right one.”

Paws & Ponder

Waiting on the Lord is a common theme throughout the Bible. Psalm 27:14 says that a person should “be brave and courageous” as he or she waits on the Lord. Why do you think waiting on God requires bravery and courage? What are you waiting for God to do? Have you grown weary in the waiting? Will you recommit to wait for his leading on a specific request today—trusting his timing and will?

Paws & Pray

God, waiting can be so hard. Would you grant me strength and courage to endure? Help me to trust your timing of the plans you have for me. As I wait patiently on you, help me to encourage others to do the same.

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Pawverbs for a Cat Lover’s Heart by Jennifer Marshall Bleakley

Cats aren’t just cute and cuddly; they also have a lot to teach us about life.

Pawverbs for a Cat Lover’s Heart is a collection of stories with beautiful photographs, each featuring a real-life animal and sharing a principle from the book of Proverbs. You’ll not only find inspiring and heartwarming tales, but also spiritual truths to touch your heart and remind you of God’s unfailing love, wisdom, and grace.

Christine loves how stories open our imaginations to God and His work in our lives. As a marketing coordinator at Tyndale, she is excited to help readers connect to life-changing stories through books, Bibles, and blog articles. In her free time, Christine enjoys reading multiple books simultaneously, exploring the forest preserve near her home, and writing about everything she sees and experiences.

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