Sunday, February 8, 2009

A lesson of love

Lately, I have been enjoying once again this lovely book of devotionals. As I read today the story of Cat and Griz, I was reminded that their fascinating story had appeared on the national news many years ago. You may have heard of them as well, as they had become a very unlikely pair of best pals: a young kitten and a grizzly bear.

Here is the devotional that I read today from that book, and I hope that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me. :)

No longer enemies

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopards shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

The orange kitten was hungry. The grizzly bear was lonely. The man was apprehensive.

The cat weighed no more than 10 ounces when he first slid under the fence into the bear's pen. The man was almost in a panic thinking the hungry gizzly would kill him with one swat and eat him for dinner - carnivorous bears make much larger animals a part of their diet.

The grizzly, whose name was Griz, had come to the Oregon Wildlife Center in 1990 when he was just a cub. Hit by a train while foraging on railroad tracks in Montana, he suffered severe head injuries and was deemed unfit to return to the wild.

The kitten was one of four kittens abandoned at the center early in the summer. Volunteers were able to find homes for the rest of the litter, but Cat, as he was now called, somehow eluded them.

Then one day in July, Cat turned up in Griz's pen. Afraid to do anything that might alarm Griz, the man just watched, expecting the worst. As the 650-pound grizzly was eating his midday meal, something extraordinary happened. The bear very gently picked out a chicken wing with his forepaw and dropped it near Cat.

From that moment on, Griz and Cat became something of a slapstick animal act. Cat would lay in ambush, then leap out and swat Griz on his nose. Griz would carry Cat in his mouth. Cat would ride on Griz's back, and sometimes Griz would lick Cat.

Their friendly relationship defies both the patterns of nature as well as their own troubled life histories. Griz never took advantage of Cat's weaknesses, and each animal has accomodated the other's needs.

What a lesson Griz and Cat offer! We can help each other break free from the patterns of our past that keep us from loving each other. As we pray for and care for others with the love of Jesus Christ, we obtain healing by the grace of God, both for them and ourselves!

(Tea time with God, Honor Books Publishers, pages 20-21)

As I read this devotional today, I thought "how amazing is it that we can take a lesson from a couple of animals?". Indeed, we can simply remind ourselves that although we're all different from each other, and we may have experienced difficult and hurtful relationships, we can all choose friendship and love with one another over animosity and bitterness.

May love fill our hearts today and always!