“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
The woman held the door open while her cat stood like a statue in the middle of the doorway. The tiny cat nose processed an infinite variety of smells coming from the yard, from the enticing aroma of tiny prey to the offensive stink of automobile exhausts.
“Come on, Patches,” the woman groaned. “Are you in or out?”
The tone was unmistakable. The woman was impatient. She lacked the cat’s acute awareness of her surroundings, so naturally she would think the decision should be a simple one.
The cat flicked her tail as she turned and walked slowly into the house. The door slammed, and the woman went back to the little table and the soft chair by the window.
The cat thought about jumping to the windowsill and then onto the woman’s shoulder, but she recognized the ritual. The woman would not linger long in the soft chair. So the cat wandered away to find a more suitable place to nap.
The woman picked up the Bible from the table, placed it in her lap and began to read again from the beginning of the psalm. She liked the majestic language of the psalms, but they could be impractical. As her eyes raced past a mention of the beauty of God’s presence, her ears missed the still, small voice that called out to her.
“Emily, are you in or out?”
Clattering background noises surrounded her: the details of her children’s upcoming concert at school and the nagging cost of her parents’ medications. She wondered if God didn’t sometimes try to make things too simple.
He was apparently oblivious to the complexities of a suburban family’s world. Life wasn’t easy.
The voice was impatient. “Emily, in or out!”
A vague hint of something remarkable stirred within her, but she pushed it away. She laid the book back on the table—too much to do. She would return later, when she had more time.
She carried freshly washed clothes to the bedroom, where the cat had discovered a sweater folded neatly at the foot of the bed. Patches was curled up in a tight ball, purring softly as she sank deeper into the folds of the sweater.
“Lucky you,” the woman sighed.
The cat agreed. She pressed her paws into the yarn and stretched. Any lingering thoughts of the outside world were overshadowed by the glory that seemed to fill the woman’s house.
As Emily folded clothes on the bedspread, her cat purred, “I’m in!”
Bob Freye is senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Mountain Lake, Minn.