Cats cannot be claustrophobic.
I’m sure of that. I grew up having cats in our home, and we have one now. And every time there’s a box of any size or a brown paper shopping bag on the floor, our cat is sure to crawl into it. Far from being claustrophobic, cats love those tight confining places.
Maybe it’s because they like having their own space, where they can shut out the world. Or, more likely, those snug little places provide a safe, cozy feeling for the cat. They’re normally such hypervigilant and jittery creatures that a box will offer them protection from the “dangerous” world around them.
Or, at least that’s the perception. Sometimes that cozy spot might be the worst place to take a snooze. Not too long ago the news reported the story about a cat who had crawled into the inner frame of a sofa as his refuge. Unfortunately, while sleeping away, a moving team carried that sofa and packed it into their truck. The cat survived the ordeal. But instead of traveling in the family car, he made the journey while trapped upside down in total darkness.
Just recently, the family cat of Jacqueline Lake of Nova Scotia made a similar trip destined for Alberta, Canada—more than 2,000 miles away. While Jacqueline was busy packing up steel tire rims into boxes, her male tabby, Baloo, crawled into one of them before she closed and taped it securely. A delivery service picked up the boxes, including the one with a cat trapped inside, and proceeded to deliver them to their destination.
The sudden disappearance of Baloo set Jacqueline and her daughter searching the house and neighborhood for his whereabouts. Fortunately, Jacqueline received a call from the delivery service and informed her that her cat had been found. A driver heard Baloo’s cries while in Toronto—only 700 miles into the trip. He called the ASPCA, who took custody of the cat and eventually returned him unharmed to his owners.
Finding Comfort Zones
Human beings certainly have something in common with cats. We love to withdraw into our comfort zones–or surround ourselves with things and people to find security. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re merely trying to survive and feel safe. But sometimes those comfort zones can trap us. They might keep us from obeying God, especially if He’s calling us from our comfort zone to do something challenging. In order to get us to obey, God might have to shake up our world a bit. Remember Jonah’s flight from the call of God? His comfort zone was in the belly of a ship. But God turned it into the belly of a whale. After that ordeal, Jonah was more than will willing to escape his prison and do the will of God (Jonah 1–3). Truly the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.
If we surround ourselves with possessions as our source of security, they might take possession of us. Jesus warned us, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Our treasure is like a magnet, drawing our hearts heavenward or earthward. If possessions become our heart’s treasure, they will trap us from following Christ and chain us to this doomed world below.
It’s certainly natural for us to surround ourselves with people. We’re social creatures. And there’s no way we can perform the tasks of life without the help of other people. But sometimes our need for people turns into an approval–dependency. Occasionally, we can become so dependent upon the approval, acceptance, and affirmation of others that we merely follow the crowd. In the Gospel of John, we read about those who believed in Jesus but were too afraid of the disapproval of others to take a stand for Christ.
Finding Your Strong Tower
“Many people believed in Him, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43, NLT).
Friend, the only permanent and rock-solid security is the Almighty. The name of Jesus is not something to be ashamed of. For “the name of the Lord is a strong tower. Those who are righteous run into it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). Taking a stand for Jesus may jeopardize our “approval rating” with other people, but it will also save us from a far more disastrous fate. “For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it” (Matthew 7:13). Therefore, make Jesus your strong tower, your comfort zone, and your source of security.
Dear Lord Jesus, into Your strong and loving arms, I flee. I need Your protection, Your love, and Your approval. I need no other. I am Yours, O Christ, save me, I pray. Amen.