In Sunday School this morning we talked about faith. Among other things, we discussed how one maintains faith in God when really bad things happen. I remember that C.S. Lewis talked about that in terms of taking a cat to the vet; if I'm not mistaken, this is in A Grief Observed.
We took little Molly to the vet yesterday morning and had to leave her a couple of hours. Molly had a UTI several months ago, so when we feared that one of the cats was having symptoms of such we immediately decided to get Molly checked out. (That's the editorial "we" there, in case you are wondering.) It turns out that she's fine, to our relief. The vet tech said her urine was "beautiful" which I doubt was true in the aesthetic sense, but I know what she meant. But when we went to pick her up, it took them a while to bring her out. I think she was fighting them. Molly's pretty scrappy. One of the techs finally brought her out with a towel wrapped around her and covering her head.
"Don't make her look at dogs," I joked, some fine specimens just entering the waiting room. But the tech had no intention of trying to remove the towel from Molly and in fact, didn't want the towel back. Molly was growling until I took her in my arms and spoke to her. When she heard my voice, she pushed her head between my arm and my body and grew quiet. I held her like a baby all the way home as she burrowed as close to me as she could get.
The point of all of this is that you can't explain to a cat why you are taking her to the vet. If you tried for a million years, you could not make your cat understand. As Lewis put it, the cat cannot differentiate between the vet and the vivisectionist. From Molly's point of view we delivered her over to strangers, who frightened her and probably caused her some pain. Certainly they made her smell bad, no small consideration for a cat. But even though you know your cat can't understand why, you do what you have to do for your cat's sake, and hope that her love and trust are strong enough to overcome her anger and fear. And this is actually not a bad analogy for our inability to look at things from God's eternal perspective. I think that when we get to heaven, all kinds of things will become knowable to us. Paul said in I Cor. 13 that we have imperfect knowledge now but then we will see everything clearly.