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While I noticed my two cats were not racing through my house one weekday morning, I could tell that it was just too quiet. Normally, one of them says “Good Morning” by rubbing against my legs over and over while the other one stays nearby. But on that particular morning, the lack of cat commotion alerted me to a problem: the cats weren’t there. I wondered if they had been accidentally shut up in a room in my house, but then I heard a faint “Meow”. I opened my back door and in walked one of my black cats with no collar. I can’t tell them a part without their red and blue collars. But just one cat walked through the doors. He immediately began greeting me with his rubbing against my ankles. I thought it was Bruce but wasn’t quite sure.

I jumped outside to start looking for the other cat. No matter where I looked, there was no sign of him. I yelled for my husband when I sprinted back into the house to let him know of the issue. He bolted down the stairs and leapt out the door on the hunt for the cat.

In a few minutes, he returned with the cat with the blue color, Bruce. This meant that the cat who arrived first was Randy. My husband found the red collar in our neighbor’s yard. He had jumped the fence to get to Bruce who had been purring and unwilling to jump back over the fence to our yard.

All night our two sibling brother cats endured the coolness, the dark and the unknown. They have rarely been outside during the day and are inside cats. Just the thought of them being outside all night pierced my heart.

We realized that they must have escaped the previous night when we let the dog out right before bed time. They seem to want to creep toward the door in hopes of getting out almost anytime any door is open. Their nature is to explore and be curious, but this time, their curiosity could have killed the cats.

I hope that in our lives, we don’t try to run out and away from the safety that God provides. If our hearts wander, like the cats, then there is no telling where we will end up. Like Bruce, we my be hunkered down on the other side of a fence, tired, scared and crying. I know that our loving Father, like my husband, reaches out to save. He will bring us back. It just may mean an extended stay in the dark.

The cats slept a lot upon their return. Sometimes coming back means a time to recover. A time to let safety sink in. A time to reflect on how good Grace feels. A time of being strengthened.

God really does care and continues to think about us if we wander down a path of doubt, a racetrack of uncertainty or a dirt road full of dust and debris. He is always ready and waiting with open arms to receive us.

If one door opens, like it did for the cats, it may not mean that we should go through that door. It may be enticing as to what may be on the other side, but if one goes through it, there may be a time of living in the dark, feeling estranged and lost. I pray that we would stay in the space of Grace and not become entangled in the snares that can exist not far from home.

As we face each new day, God gives strength for the journey, help and his protection even if we have made a decision that proved to be unwise. He provides and allows events to change. Our cats probably felt like their new normal would just be the way it would be while they spent hours upon hours in darkness. As the dawn of a new day uncovered a pale pink glow, they could see things differently. They could see how to get back home.

I hope that they didn’t stray too far from our house during their night outside, but even jumping the fence to the neighbors’ yard meant that they had gone on a small journey. I can imagine the hope that cried out in each of Bruce’s purrs as he sat waiting on the opposite side of that fence. He could see my husband but would not budge. My husband had to reach down and save him, bring him back home and love on him. Our good Father also sees us in our wanderings and is always ready to pick us up, strengthen, help, rescue, redeem and restore.

I pray that you would know the Grace and the love of our Father and continue to remain in Him.

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