I wanted to love her. Truly, I did. She was a tiny stray kitten with fearful crusty eyes and dried mucus on her nose. Her black and white fur was matted in some places and covered with a strange filth in others. She was pitiful and at the same time absolutely darling.
I could already see past the grime and visualized her as a sturdy contented cat with shiny glossy fur relaxing leisurely with eyes half closed in a patch of morning sun. Without a worry about her next meal or a care about her safety, I could imagine the deep rumble of her happy contented purr.
But as hard as I tried to cautiously approach this little kitten who cowered near my porch, she wouldn’t come near me. Not a step. Rather she would hiss with pinned back ears and then turn to sprint under the nearest offering of protection. Hiding in the bushes or behind a tree, she trembled with fear and mistrust, never knowing the pleasure of a soft hand on her back or a hearty scratch under her chin.
I tried sitting quietly. I tried talking gently to get her used to the sound of my voice. I attempted to entice her with the smell of an opened can of cat food and even appealed to her thirst by splashing my fingers in a bowl of clean water.
I coaxed, begged, and pleaded. But nothing worked.
What would become of this raggedy stray kitten? What would her life be like if she couldn’t even trust someone to kindly provide for her few basic needs? Would she ever feel safe or be content? Or was she doomed to spend her entire life ducking, hiding, and remaining independently needy by her own choice?
Do you have someone in your life who is untouchable or unreachable?
Someone who will not accept your comfort, your wisdom, your assistance?
Someone who is afraid of you, doesn’t trust you, or won’t even give you a chance?
Someone who will not connect with you, reconcile with you, perhaps even love you?
Rejection hurts. Yet our job is not to gain the loyalty, friendship, or affections of others. Our job is not to be persuasive enough, credible enough, or forceful enough to “make” people see their need and our response to it. Our job is simply to faithfully offer love. Over and over again.
Our greatest Teacher, Jesus Christ, persevered with people who would not listen to Him, continued to seek out those who were not attracted to Him, and lovingly persisted with those who weren’t willing to freely accept all that He had to offer.
May He give us the strength and patience to do the same.