This way to life

By Jessica Brodie

She’d been the runt of her litter, so my cat, Teetee, worked very hard to compensate for that. She worked so hard, in fact, that she soon became a ginormously overweight cat, which we all thought was adorable.

But then one day, we noticed Teetee was no longer Garfield caliber. She was getting quite slender—and eventually, she was so skinny we could see her bones.

A trip to the vet confirmed she had a serious thyroid disorder. The doctor prescribed a twice-daily pill she had to take, and in no time, Teetee was gaining weight and looking like herself again.

The only trouble was the pill. See, at first Teetee took her pill with no issue. I hid it in some spray cheese and fed it to her, easy peasy. But about few weeks later, she discovered a way to artfully lick around the pill and decided she’d take the cheese without the pill, thank you very much.

We tried other kinds of cheese, like cream cheese or Gouda. No luck. None of the other methods we came up with worked, either.

Finally, my husband said we needed to just force-feed her the pill. That worked. Now we have a neat little routine: cradle Teetee, gently jam the cheese-wrapped pill between her jaws, then reward her with some yummy soft food. She’s gaining weight, the kids no longer look at her mournfully and ask, “Mommy, will she die today?”, and everyone’s happy.

It occurred to me that Teetee and her unwillingness to eat her cheese-pill is a bit like how some of us are when it comes to following Christ. Some of us learn about Jesus and head willingly and immediately down that path—they slurp up the cheese-pill and never turn back. Others flat-out refuse anything to do with Jesus—I think of pets that instantly turn their nose up at medicine and fight it with every ounce of their being.

Still others start to go the Jesus Way, then decide something else looks more interesting. That’s like my cat, who at first seemed OK with the cheese-pill, then decided she’d rather just take the parts she liked.

Only my cat needs her cheese-pill—and we need Jesus.

God gives us free will, but He wants us to choose the path of eternal life. Without Him, we are like my cat without medicine, all sickly, skinny, and wasting away. But with Him, we’re blessed with eternal life.

And God has a plan for us, a path He wants us to walk. As He promises through His prophet Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 CEB). As He promises through His son, Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), and “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).

Unlike the way my husband and I force-feed our cat her pill, I’m not sure anyone is going to force-feed us Jesus or all-out drag us through that narrow gate to Heaven. But we can do our best to lead those we love to the source of eternal life. We can bring our kids (or invite our friends and neighbors) to church and show them the way we depend on God in our daily lives. We can do mission work and other ministries in the name of the Lord. We can share our testimonies of how God triumphed in our lives.

As I told my cat this morning, “Come on, Teetee. I’m only trying to help you live.”


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