Cats are amazing creatures. They may be the easiest house pet to care for, if you can get past their attitude that says they are the center of the universe. The cuddly mousers are housebroken right out of the box, with God doing some amazing programming in their natural instincts. They have the entire run of their environment, until they are faced with something as simple as a mirror – this worries them for days on end.
Mirrors are one of the most diabolical illusions that cats can encounter. Sure, they’re intrigued by movement under the linen, strange stringy things being dragged across the floor and unintelligible objects suspended from twine. However, nothing beats the drama that ensues when a fairly inexperienced cat meets a perfectly polished piece of reflective material – a mirror. It’s the behavior the new cat exhibits at seeing itself and the illusion of another room beyond the glass that incurs amusement in onlookers.
The animal will spend hours at the edge of the mirror trying to reach its flat replica on the other side of the glass. It will paw, sneak and have imaginary discourse with its identical twin. The activity always becomes an exercise in how fast the cat can reach behind the glass to capture its elusive doppelganger. The ball of sensual fur engages in endless experiments to apprehend the prey but the paw aways comes back empty. This possible specter on the other side of the mirror is an unnecessary worry. We know this because it does not take us humans quite as long to figure out that there’s nothing on the other side of the mirror, especially not our twin in an identical room to be apprehended.
Jesus encouraged us not to be engaged in life in that way. He spoke extensively for three chapters in the Bible, Matthew 5 – 7, on the various ways that we paw at the air for things that do not exist, are out of our control, appears to be in need of change, and belong to the sovereignty of God. Jesus goes to great lengths to show us how the condition of our minds and spirits can be great hindrances to a working relationship with Himself. He is pointing out that things beyond our reach are better left in the hands of God. When Jesus gave the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, He was speaking with intimate authority on the condition of man in terms of worry. He knew full well that this problem persisted in us and went unanswered in His day. He knows that deadlines, seasons, health, ministries, relationships and more can appear to be serious concerns for us. Our imaginations projected as like in a mirror, suspend our attention away from concentrating on God the Father before us now. We ‘paw’ at those non-existent illusions beyond our reach. This care beyond our reach begs for some resolution right at this moment. Instead of experiencing contentment, peace and worship, fear and dread consume our awareness of the presence of the Father. That reflection is our hope for something else or something to change.
Elements of this conflict can be found with our original father and mother, Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3) We inherited the belief that something, beyond our reach, is proper nourishment and must look good, and attaining it makes one prudent from her. We can add that this desire, out-of-the-way, promises complete satisfaction after it is acquired. Hopefully, we have matured and learned to grow from repeated failures at pawing for imaginary satisfaction. Staying present in this moment is a good sign that we are aligning ourselves with Jesus’ intentions. Where some distress or enigma draws us away from our peace with God is a good time to refocus our energy and attention back to the creator and trust His timing for settlement. A good compass would be to test whether this present issue is at hand and if there is an abiding sense of Jesus in the midst of this particular sphere. Is faith in the person of Jesus being exercised in this instance? We know we are extending ourselves beyond our reach without true faith when worship, peace and contentment are certainly absent.
So, fix your hair and make sure the broccoli isn’t sticking in your teeth, but beware of lingering too long at your other self in that identical room – and trying to reach or change that person without prayer and devotion to God. The same holds true if you are privileged to see to the edge of an ocean or the outline of a mountain range. Those horizons are where God figures everything out and prepares places for us. Life between us and those boundaries are already more than we can handle. All of our concerns have their solution at the throne of God.