When you’re stranded up a tree

Published 4:31 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

Our oldest daughter, Sandra, recently moved from the house she has lived in for the past several years.  Included among the things that she accumulated during that time is a cat.  It started off as a small kitten, but has grown into a thirteen pound beast with a rather bad personality.  The problem that arose when she decided to relocate is that the new place does not allow animals.  As much as Bella thinks she is part of the family, she is still an animal.  What to do now?  The simple solution is to let her live with mom and dad–but maybe not so simple after all.

Bella has spent virtually all her life as an inside animal with little interaction with the outside world, however, her new residence at Papa’s place will not be in the house, but out in the backyard.  Last Saturday was the beginning process of letting her get used to staying with us, but it did not go as smoothly as hoped.  She wandered around in our fenced in backyard meowing nonstop for awhile, but that was to be expected.  I went on about my business, then after awhile I noticed that she was nowhere to be seen, yet I could still hear her.  I searched around but to no avail.  Nana showed up and joined in the search party; as usual, when I am looking for something that I have lost she finds it, and she did this time.  She directed my attention to a tree and there sat Bella about fifteen feet up sitting on the fork of two limbs with a look of desperation on her face.  I am confident that that was her first time climbing a tree and she did a good job of it, but she seemed far less skilled at getting down from her ascent toward the heavens.  Like the city kid who goes to grandma’s house in the country for the summer and immediately gets into trouble in the unfamiliar surroundings, so it was for my new “problem child”.

Life is filled with episodes of being—or at least feeling—stranded with no easy way of escape.  Scripture is not empty of examples of individuals who faced some tremendously difficult encounters in their lives.  David, who became king of Israel, was one of those and in Psalm 57 he provides a powerful picture of how to successfully navigate through those times and circumstances.

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David was much despised by the man he would ultimately replace as king of Israel—Saul.  On one of those encounters in which Saul sought to do him harm, David hid away in a cave.  It was in that setting where he must surely have had a sense of being stranded with no easy way of escape that he appealed to God for help:  “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1, New International Version).  He continues on and declares the willingness of God to hear and act on his behalf:  “He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends His love and His faithfulness” (verse 3).

After a few hours of her being stranded in the tree, Sandra and Jaleah showed up and started to coax Bella until she gained the confidence to descend safely from her perch.  The familiar voice of one who is known and trusted can guide us gently to safety.  By spending time with God and getting to know Him intimately, like David did, we will find confidence to follow His lead to safety even when we feel stranded.  Trust Him!  His mercy and faithfulness are abundant.