Buzz was a good cat, if there really is such a thing.
Those who know me know I am not a “pet” guy. If I were to choose my own “pet” it would be a dog that would retrieve ducks for me! But, personal ecomony being what it is, pets in general are not typically doable in our household. But we made an exception this past fall for a cat that was owned by a fellow member of our local church. Apparently, “Buzz” as he was named needed a home where no female cats were present! So, my two girls pouted and begged and twisted my arm until it broke.
Buzz became ours. He lived, for the most part, in the unfinished part of our basement, and rarely made a nuisance of himself except to meow in the mornings to remind us he was down there and was hungry! My oldest daughter, Meaghan pampered him and treated him like a kingly cat. She often did her school work with buzz lying on her feet on her bed. And my youngest daughter had a love / hate relationship with Buzz, as he would sometimes swat her toes and scratch her up a bit, probably just to remind her who the king was!
Over the weekend, Buzz started acting weird, kinda sickly. He then began to swell and was just in obvious pain. So yesterday we took him to the vet only to be told he had such a massive kidney stone / blockage issue that there really was nothing they could do for him (at least not for under a few thousand dollars). My girls were and are heartsick. Buzz did not quite make it to his first birthday, a victim apparently of a neutering gone bad, according to the vet. So, my house has been a tear-filled place lately (none of them mine, but plenty flowing from my wife and two girls). I have consoled them all the best I can, treating them to Culver’s frozen custard last night! But, I must admit, even I missed the meows coming through our floor vents this morning. We all miss Buzz even though he was only with us a few months.
But as Christian parents, we must seize upon every life event as a moment to teach God’s truth and gospel. So, the passing of Buzz has been a springboard for us in our home to remind ourselves:
- Though we were attached to Buzz, he was after all just a cat. Human life has far more value in God’s eyes. Jesus Himself taught so (Matt 6:26; Luke 13:15; 14:5). We have reminded ourselves that there are parents in Connecticut burying their children today, and people dying of starvation around the world. We must fight to keep a biblical perspective in this life. We must never allow animals to rise to the level of people in our hearts and eyes.
- God is in control and He is always teaching His children and doing what is best for us. So, though some may call me calloused, I gently urged Meaghan last night to seek what lessons God meant for her to learn. After all, if not even a single sparrow “will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matt 10:31), then it is unlikely Buzz’s demise was in any sense “accidental.” God’s sovereignty is absolute! And, Meaghan showed tremendous maturity by saying that perhaps she had allowed Buzz to become too important so God removed the cat before it became an idol. If that sounds hokey to you, then you must not fully understand the depravity of your own hearts. John Calvin said our hearts are “idol factories.” Thank God He is jealous for us and does not long tolerate any competitors!
- Everything in this world changes, but not God. This morning I read Psalm 26 with Keileigh, after her eyes filled with tears when she woke and realized Buzz’s meows were not greeting her. There David tells how he is determined to trust and worship God come what may. Though all things change, our God’s love and faithfulness remains.
- Death, even of cats, is a result of mankind’s sin. The Bible is clear on this (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:21). Prior to the Fall of Adam and Eve, there was no death. [This is why, by the way, it is just not biblically feasible to believe that millions of years of death and decay preceded the creation of Adam and Eve.] Sin brought death into this world, and sadly the whole creation groans under its curse (Rom 8:22). So, in reality, Buzz died because I am a sinner, and so are my daughters. We did this to ourselves, people! Consider how shocking it would have been for God Himself to kill an animal to clothe Adam and Eve after they sinned (Gen 3:21). Death had entered the world, and would soon strike again when their son Cain killed their other son Abel. Death is a horrible enemy and it is ugly.
All of this brings us to the Gospel, doesn’t it? While Jesus did not come as an atoning sacrifice for cats, He did come to set all things aright. For those who have their whole lives changed by Him, who trust Him and turn away from their sin, we are made “new creatures” (2 Cor 5:17). So, Christians begin to get a glimpse of what one day will become the reality for all the universe – newness of life! And while animal deaths should not be viewed with the same gravity as human death, all death should stir something deep inside our souls that longs for the day when “the lion will lay down with the lamb, and the child shall play over the adder’s den” (Is 11).
And, little girls will no longer have to say goodbye to cats, for “there will no longer be death” (Rev 21:4).
I’ll take this ending over Darwin’s endless cycle of birth and death any day!