Tiger Under the Big Tent
by Rich Deem

Why would the God of the universe come to earth as a man?

In August, 2001, we had scheduled to have our home tented to get rid of termites. During the time that the house would have to be evacuated, we were going to travel to San Diego for a mini-vacation. The process of preparation had been a long one. All the food was wrapped in special plastic bags, and arrangements were made to put the dog (Shadow) and three cats (Promise, Sassy, and Tiger) into a local kennel. The day we were to leave, we were running late, and were finishing the packing and food wrapping as the workers arrived. We put our three boys into the van and started collecting the cats as the tent was being put over the house. We had only one cat carrier, and it was reserved for our feisty female cat, Promise. Next, I caught Sassy (a mild mannered Himalayan), and finally, Tiger, an orange tabby that acted somewhat retarded. All the cats and kids were in the van as we collected some final items and coats. As I was coming out of the house, I saw the van door open and two cats and one child fly out. I went around the cats and managed to chase them back into the house. I didn't want them left out for three days without food and water and possibly being subject to be eaten by the coyotes that live in our area (we had already lost three escaped cats in three years).

Once inside the house, I thought it would be simple finding the cats and getting them back into the van. I did a quick search, found Sassy and put him back into the van. The quick search revealed no sign of Tiger, who was known for his ability to hide. What made things much worse than usual was what we had to do to prepare the house for tenting. All interior doors (including closets and cupboards) were opened, so that the cat could literally be anywhere in the house. The tent was now completely covering the house, except the front porch, as an eerie blue light filtered through the tarp. Being summer, the heat was increasing rapidly due to everything being enclosed within plastic. Since the back door was open, the cat could gone out into the patio area. I went outside and searched the patio and the area around the house that was enclosed within the tent. No Tiger.

During this time, Carole was going through the house, looking in Tiger's usual hiding places. After 20 minutes, the cat was still missing, and the exterminators were ready to begin fumigation. Both Carole and I were panicked, thinking that Tiger was somewhere in a house that soon would become a death trap. Tiger was scarred, and would not come out when called. There was no way to communicate with him that his life was in extreme danger. I thought that this was probably how God felt as He tried to communicate with humans who were often stubborn,1 and would not listen to advice that would save them. However, God came to earth in human form as Jesus Christ,2 so that He could communicate directly with us.3 I wished that I could become a cat, so that I could more easily look for Tiger. Maybe as a cat, I could even follow his scent. I decided to systematically go through the house and look into every place. I went through the back bedroom, looking through all the closets, even pulling things out to make sure Tiger was not hiding behind things. I finished the room and closed the door, so that Tiger could not double back to a new hiding place. I went through the room addition and kitchen, and closed off that part of the house. Tiger was not in the dining room, the hall, or the front bathroom. I didn't find him in the either of the boys' rooms or the linen cupboards in the hall. The last rooms were the master bedroom and bathroom. I took everything out of the bottom of the closet - no Tiger. He wasn't under the bed or behind the computer desk. Forty minutes into the search, it seemed that Tiger had vanished.

I went out and let the boys out of the van, since it was also getting quite warm. They began to help in the search for Tiger. We had obviously missed something. We started back at the beginning - going through every room again. Unbelievably, Andrew found Tiger five minutes later in his bedroom. Tiger had gone around the back of a dresser and jumped onto a shelf behind a pile of toys. We were overjoyed that Tiger was found. In a small way, we understood how God feels when one of his children comes back to Him after hiding for years. What about the people who avoid God for their entire lives? God's heart must truly break for those He has tried to warn,4 but refuse His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.5

References Top of page

  1. "Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel." (Isaiah 46:13)
  2. ...Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)
    "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
    And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. And fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and, "God has visited His people!" (Luke 7:14-16)
  3. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
    God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
  4. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (Genesis 6:6)
    "For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected," Says your God. (Isaiah 54:6)
  5. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)



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