The Cat and the Can Opener

“‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.’” (John 14:27 NASB)

I struggle with receiving the peace Jesus has given me. Since He says do not “‘let’” my heart be troubled nor “‘let’” my mind be fearful’” He’s telling me I have a choice.

I remember a Saturday morning cartoon from my childhood. There was a cat and a mouse; they were always at odds with each other. The cat was forever trying to catch the mouse, the mouse was constantly teasing and eluding the cat. In this particular episode, the family goes on vacation leaving the cat behind. The cat realizes his bowl is empty and wildly searches for food. He finds rows of canned cat food in a cupboard. Excited, he digs through a kitchen drawer looking for the can opener. The opener isn’t there. He tries another drawer and another, madly tossing utensils everywhere. Giving up on the can opener he begins jumping on the can, throwing it, beating it with whatever he can find in a vain attempt to open the can. Then he looks up: the mouse is standing by his door (a hole in the wall) holding the can opener, with a smirk. The rest of the episode the cat chases the mouse in an attempt to get the can opener. I don’t remember how it ended, but since both cat and mouse were back the following Saturday I had to assume that, somehow, both survived.

Sometimes I feel like that cat, struggling to open Your gift of peace. But I don’t need a can opener: the “can” You provided has a zip top (of sorts). I should be able to open this can and enjoy its sustenance without a problem. Still, I struggle. Why?

It is a failure on my part to wholeheartedly trust you. Such a small word; five letters, one syllable. Yet, like the cat wildly struggling to find a way to open the can, I often struggle to “open” Your gift of peace.

O Lord, help me to keep my focus on You and not the problem. Help me trust You knowing and believing You really do have it all under control and are working all things together for my good (see Romans 8:28). Nothing surprises You. You already know how things will work out. There isn’t a reason for me to stress. Maybe I fear that You will work things out in a way I don’t like. But I know You love me more than words can convey or heart can conceive. Help me to receive, enter into and rest in Your peace.

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