It was already dinnertime. I locked up my computer and walked out my office door. Shoot, it’s raining. Walking toward my bike in the side lot, I realized I also did not have my rain poncho with me that day.
I unlocked my lock and grasped my handlebars to roll my bike back. Nothing. It didn’t budge. Totally stuck, the front wheel not turning at all. What? I had just ridden it to work that morning! So strange. I guess a heavy scooter must have hit the front and jammed the gears.
And all this is after my scooter was just stolen last week.
Ok, Lord, I guess I’m catching a taxi home. I walked out the main gate and off campus. Slowly. Rain splattering on my umbrella and parked cars silently lining the street for parents’ night.
Then I heard it. A tiny cry. And then another one. Meow. Meow. Meoooowww! Growing with an intensity and pitifulness that funny enough, felt like a perfect expression of my transportation woes. I was curious. Then a thought occurred to me: If my bike had not been stuck, I would have raced by and not heard the cry at all.
Approaching the sound, I immediately found myself asking, “God, are you setting me up to rescue a kitty?” The thought totally resonated in me. That would be so cool! More than cool, that would be so… intimate of you, God. So thoughtful, so amazing. Something to greet me when I come home at night, something to cuddle with on the couch, something to remind me of rest, and quietness, and stillness. Hm…
I knelt down by a parked SUV and sure enough, spied a little gray kitten crouching on the dry top of front tire, wild eyes and shaking legs. So cute! Ok, Lord. Is this my kitty from You? I reached for it. But it flinched and scurried further under the vehicle.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that God had caused me to notice this little cat, so I tried again, to no avail.
Ok, God, if this is from You, could you have him walk out and cuddle into my arms in the next 10 seconds? That’s really all I have, or else I really have to go.
I counted. …slowly….. 8….9….10
So I kept walking.
But then I turned around.
Maybe I hadn’t tried hard enough.
So I got a big sturdy canvas bag from my office, then came out and crouched down again, making kissing noises and clucking noises. I coaxed him to the front of the tire, finally, then reached out slowly, this time successfully letting him sniff me as I gently encircled my fingers around his tiny body.
I smiled. Wow! So close! I pulled my hand toward the bag, but noticed the kitty had dug its nails into the tire and was clinging to it with all its might. A tug of war.
Finally, he released his grip and I seized the moment, lifting him up and over into the bag. His head jerked up and eyes went wild as he frantically scratched around the bag, writhing his body around. Before I could react, he had leaped up and scrambled out of the bag… and right back under the car.
My heart was pounding.
Ok God! I tried! But why did you show me this cat if you didn’t want me to save it? Err…… What are you up to?
I paused. (Nothing)
Well, I know you know what I’m thinking. And you’re definitely up to something. I suppose you could still have it show up at my office tomorrow… or something. I’ll just leave this with you. I’ve done everything I feel I can, and more, and now I’m late to dinner.
I finally walked off, a bit disappointed, but choosing to let it go, knowing that God would have made it clear if He had really wanted me to take that cat home. It would have had to be a perfect cat, because my life is crazy busy enough, and I have no time to deal with a wild and jumpy street cat.
So I went to dinner and told my friend Lisa about the cat I thought God might be giving me. She smiled wistfully: “Oh, Corrie, it would have been so great for you to have gotten a little kitty from God! It would be so like Him to give you one!”
“I know!” I exclaimed, which had been the reason I had tried so hard.
The next day my eyes darted around the street as I approached my office. No kitten. No meowing.
(Sigh) Oh well. God, you see the bigger picture.
Fast forward one week. Thoughts of the kitty behind me. Just enjoying a night full of “chance” but divinely-timed encounters, ending with an intense and incredible sharing time with two close girl friends in downtown Shanghai. The night stretched to 1:00am, and finally as one of them (Andrea) and I walked down the stairs from the other girl’s building to catch a cab together, it was such a nice cool and beautiful night that we decided to walk a ways down the deserted old city street.
Not being familiar with the area, we just picked the least smelly direction and started walking. My eyes wandered up to an old building on my right, a glint of gold from a symbol on it catching my eye. A gold eagle with two snakes. I wondered at its meaning.
I stopped walking and pulled out my phone, snapping a photo of the symbol and of the characters next to it, so I could look them up later.
Andrea, who had paused with me, suddenly made a little squeak as she and I both noticed at the same time a little black and white street kitten padding over toward us. It encircled our ankles and calmly blinked up at us.
Then it hit me. I started to smile. Laugh. I looked around. Deserted street. Really, God? Actually, of course.
I reached down and gently, easily, lifted up the little precious creature into my arms. It immediately settled comfortably and started purring. Not a flinch, not even a twitch. Andrea laughed and gave me a quizzical look. I just smiled and told her I’d explain it on the way, feeling the gentle purring against my right arm as I hailed a cab with my left.
Tonight, I felt energized, full of life, not late to a dinner, not fighting the rain. Tonight, I “happened” to be with a friend who grew up with cats (I had not), and knew exactly how to help me set up my apartment for this cat to get through the night.
Wow. Taking it all in. I didn’t even have to try. No forcing. Just recognizing, responding, receiving. Realizing that I had been perfectly prepared a week prior to receive this gift.
Watching in awe as Andrea gave him his much-needed bath, then held him out to me to take to the couch and cuddle up with. He was purring, and it seems he hasn’t ever stopped. Perfect kitten. Too perfect.
But what is your name, little one?
The next day, my Chinese colleagues peered at my phone as I held it out to show them the photo I had snapped of the old building. “Oh!” they said, instantly recognizing it. “That is an old government building, a lab and center for the analysis of fabric fibers. It’s the place they examine fibers under microscopes to determine if they are authentic.”
I just stood there.
His name is Fiber.
And here I am, a small fiber in God’s tapestry, His plan. Seeing only the messy reverse side at the moment, my crisis. It’s such a mess.
How could there be life here, God? How could there be good in this, God? Make it right, God! Make it right. You have to make it right.
Then He says; It is. It’s beautiful. You can’t see it yet. You will. It’s so beautiful. You’ll see. Just wait. You’ll see. Just wait, Corrie. Just wait. Trust me. Everything that looks messy to you, I am weaving perfectly.
Corrie, you are being extracted of every synthetic and inauthentic thing in your life. You are becoming wholehearted. Able to walk in abundance.
I know the pattern. I use it ALL for good. ALL of it. Every part of it. None of the pain is wasted. None of it. You’ll see. Every fiber. All these encounters with me. I’m weaving them. You’re right where I want you to be. Fiber is a reminder for you. I know you. You’re ok. Just rest.
Ok, God. Ok.