Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Infant, or the Kitten?

Photo by Mehregan Javanmard

In 1882, Frank R. Stockton wrote a famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?” about a convicted man who had to choose between two doors. One door led to freedom and marriage to a beautiful maiden, and the other to cruel death by a ravenous tiger. I had a dream recently in which I was faced with an equally life-changing decision.

In the dream, I was living in a strange country far from home. I had no provisions for my stay, but I heard that the ruler was giving away special gifts uniquely suited to each recipient. I lined up with many others to receive my gift, and one by one we were seated in small cabins ascending into the sky, like a ski lift.

When my seat reached the platform where an official was distributing gifts, I was shocked when he placed an infant in my arms. I had hoped for money, or a job, or a house, or some other way to sustain myself in this foreign land, and here I was with another mouth to feed!

But as soon as I held him I felt an unaccustomed sense of peace, hope, and awe at his perfect composure and regal bearing, so unexpected from such a young child. When he smiled, his eyes sparkled with sunbeams that lit the darkest recesses of my heart. Although I didn’t know how, I vowed that I would devote my life to caring for him.

As I held him on my knee he laughed with delight at various sights, drawing my attention to delicate flowers hidden along the path below, butterflies wafting on the breeze, a breathtaking waterfall that I would have missed otherwise. I had never before felt such joy or anticipation for the journey.

Suddenly I was distracted by a crawling sensation at my feet that made me shudder, and I feared that it might be a spider or even a tarantula. But to my surprise, on the floor of the cabin was a tiny white kitten, rubbing against my calves, wanting to be petted. I was concerned about the infant, but the kitten seemed so helpless and innocent that I reached down to stroke it.

Photo by Alicia Harvey 2007

With a plaintive “Meow” the creature leaped into my lap, still out of reach of the infant. But the baby fixed his eyes on me with a reproachful glance that cut through to my very soul, and my eyes filled with tears as I realized that I had betrayed him. The velvety skin on the pads of the kitten’s feet retracted suddenly to reveal cruel talons, and it pounced upward, clutching my throat.

I awoke in a panic, relieved that it was just a dream. Yet it got me thinking about the message our preacher gave last Sunday about the danger of letting sin creep into our life.

We are indeed strangers in a distant land, for our life on earth will be over in a flash (2 Corinthians 4:17). Then we will spend eternity in heaven or in hell, depending on whether or not we have been born again and trusted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Life on earth is full of trouble (Job 14:1), with no promises even for tomorrow (James 4:13-15). The best gift anyone could ever receive while on earth is the gift of salvation, of placing your faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6). Not only does that guarantee your eternal life in heaven, but it gives you abundant life here and now (John 10:10).

Not only will God provide for your physical needs (Psalm 37:25), but He will bless you spiritually with joy in Him (Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 61:10; Philemon 1:20), peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and faith that He is working all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

The infant in my dream symbolized Jesus Christ, Who took on human flesh to come to earth as an Infant while retaining His divinity (John 1:14). He is all we need (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13). At the moment of salvation we are filled with joy, hope, and zeal to serve Him and to dedicate our lives to Him. If we remain faithful to that vow, we will be richly blessed by being in His perfect will (Romans 12:2).

But sadly, it is all too easy to let temptation creep into our lives, distracting our focus from Jesus. Why would we waste any of our time and energy on anything so clearly inferior to His perfection, especially when He promises us an escape from temptation? (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9)  If we yield to temptation it becomes sin – often a vicious cycle of sin compounded upon sin -- and the wages of sin is death (Luke 11:4; Romans 6:23).

If we have truly been born again (John 3:3-8), our salvation and eternal life in heaven are secure no matter what sins we commit (John 10:28-29), for His death on the cross paid for it all (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Yet sin inevitably results in other forms of death (Romans 5:12-21). Sin kills our testimony and effectiveness as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20); it demolishes our fellowship with Him (Luke 15:18-21); and it ultimately destroys our physical body through injury, substance abuse, and/or illness.

The devil doesn’t cloak temptation in black robes and warn us with thunder and lightning bolts to stay away. Instead, he lures us in, disguising temptation in beauty appealing to our eyes, our flesh, or our pride (1 John 2:16). He may tempt us into evil plans and deeds through the sympathetic whisper of a “friend.” (2 Samuel 13).

Temptation may appear as innocent and harmless as a kitten, but if you accept its advances, it will ultimately turn on you and endanger your very life (Proverbs 7).  Samson (Judges 16:4-20), David (2 Samuel 11:1-15), and Solomon (1 Kings 11:4) all succumbed to lovely temptations, with disastrous results.

In the dream I was concerned about the infant, although not enough to resist the kitten. Yet it is not Christ Who is endangered by our sins, for He has forever conquered sin and death (Romans 5:12-21). We ourselves suffer the consequences of sin, not the least of which is the sadness of knowing we have quenched and grieved His Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). 

Which will you choose, the Infant or the kitten? Eternal life and abundant life blessed by His fellowship and being in His perfect will, or the downward spiral of sin and death? The choice is yours. But thankfully, He provides all you need to make the right choice. 

© 2013 Laurie Collett
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Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
A very thought provoking dream you had there and you must have felt relief when you woke up in time before the cat can do any serious harm!
As believers, temptation always looks pleasant and pleasing to our senses, or it wouldn't be tempting.
Many times I wish I could win the lottery (even though I don't play the lottery) or be financially secure enough to do exactly what I like, when I like without a single worry in paying the bills. The truth is that lottery winners are often the most miserable people ever to walk this planet and I have read stories of marriage breakups and other emotional disasters. Or having a very expensive car or a house full of costly treasures, making the owner constantly fearful of theft or damage.
Despite looking so glittery from the outside, earthly riches just fails to bring the joy to him who has it all.
An excellent post.

Denise said...

Wow, thanks for sharing.

mail4rosey said...

That's a pretty poignant dream. Seems like you have a gift with them, that they speak to you spiritually quite a bit.

Sending over happy Sunday wishes to you.

Unknown said...

The infant or the kitten? Quite a dream. Thank you for sharing.

Janis Cox said...

Oh Laurie,
So true that sin disguises itself looking beautiful and innocent. Just a little.. ??
Being totally aware and asking the Holy Spirit to show us the truth - always on the look out and ready for battle.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
So true -- temptation is "tempting" for a reason, and the devil is a master psychologist knowing each believer's particular weaknesses.
Christ truly is all we need, and the devil's attempts to lure us are just lies from the father of lies.
I was recently asked to sing a song in church, "Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul," and the lyrics to that song are so true. Everything else, no matter how appealing, falls short and has no lasting value.
Thanks for your kind words and thought provoking comment, and God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Denise! Love and blessings to you,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Rosey! I've always been intrigued by dreams, even before I was saved. I used to keep a dream journal, and I did a research project on dream content while in medical school. Now that I am saved, I sometimes pray that if there is something God would like to show me in a dream, that I would remember it and that the Spirit would interpret it for me.
May you have a blessed week in Him!

Donald Fishgrab said...

your story makes me think of the bobcat kitten my uncle kept for a while. As a kitten it seemed so harmless and he thought he could make it safe by careful teaching. Unfortunately, while it seemed content, one day it attacked him because it was still a bobcat, not a house cat. The wages of sin is still death, regardless how well we think we've got it under control.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donna, for your comment!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Janis! May we be sober and vigilant, praying for discernment, daily putting on the whole armor of God.
Blessings to you,

Laurie Collett said...

What a great analogy, Donald! Wild animals and sin are best avoided, not "controlled," because "control" is an illusion. We should flee temptation and resist the devil.
God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
I thought I had left a comment on your post, but it does not seem to have come up. What I see in your very interesting dream is that, yes, what can appear to be very attractive in our lives can lead to something that is harmful. If it distracts us from the Lord and His teachings it will not be from Him. He will give us wisdom to know the difference if we continue to seek Him and follow His instruction. God bless you.

Michell Pulliam said...

Amen Laurie!! He shows us just how to do it! In Deuteronomy 30:19, He gives us a multiple choice test and then gives us the answer! "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live"! Now what teacher does that...only God!! Well said my friend...thanks for sharing! Have a blessed week!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Actually, you did leave a comment relevant to this post, but you left it on the previous post, "Run With Patience." :-) No problem -- I enjoy your kind and wise words no matter where they appear! May we always be attuned to the mind of Christ to follow His perfect will for us.
Love in Him,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Michell, for citing this highly appropriate verse! Praise God that He shows us the way and spelled it out so clearly in His Word. Joshua had it right (24:15): "choose you this day whom ye will serve;... as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Thanks for your kind and insightful comment, and God bless,

Unknown said...

Hi! Following you from the Blog Lovin
Hop! Return the follow please! Btw loved
your story!:0)

Brenda said...

Oh dear Laurie,
typical of me sometimes. I obviously scrolled too far down after reading your post. Maybe the Lord is telling me to run with patience eh?, and not to run ahead of Him. The Lord has always told me to 'take no thought for tomorrow', and to 'trust in the Lord with all your heart, don't lean on your own understanding',yet lately a few thoughts of what might lie ahead, which I know are not from the Lord, have been trying to slip into my mind. There is purpose in all things. God bless you Laurie

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Tonya! I'm following you back!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Brenda,
I have Prov. 3:5-6 on stone plaques above my desk, & look up at them whenever I need the reminder to trust in Him, and not in me! May we focus on His Word and His will.
God bless you too!

Laura said...

Laurie, your dream-life is fascinating. So rich. I love how The Lord speaks to you and through you this way. A good warning to heed and be on the alert for.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Laura,
I really appreciate your uplifting words of encouragement. You are a blessing!
Love in Him,

Mommy Evolution said...

Thanks for linking up to Friday Flash Blog. Have a wonderful and happy weekend :-)

A Proverbs 31 Wife said...

Oh my goodness, what a dream!
I'm glad you linked this up to Matrimonial Monday and I just wanted to tell you I chose it as one of our features!

Katherines Corner said...

wow, Hugs and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo

Laurie Collett said...

What a surprise and honor that you featured "The Infant, or the Kitten" at Saved by Grace. I am especially blessed by your comment. Thank you for all you do to spread God's Word and to encourage your readers.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Katherine, for hosting and for your sweet comment!

a joyful noise said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful dream with us here at "Tell Me a Story." Your dreams are so meaningful. Our love for Jesus must be focused on him, and those soft cute things that keep us busy in other things and distracted from Jesus, must be avoided.