Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Parable of the Lost Rat

You're familiar with the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Lost Sheep, and the Lost Son, right? How about the Parable of the Lost Rat? It's a new one we "wrote" just last night.

We had our regular Friday night "Movie Night," and after it was over the kids got the rats out to play. Everything was going fine. Everyone was happy, and I was cleaning up - minding my own business. Then I heard Elizabeth say in a very small voice, "Mom remind me to never let the rats go onto the couch again."
I looked up from what I was doing to see my daughter in tears. She told me Allison had gotten stuck in the couch.
In the couch.
Apparently she chewed a little hole and made her way to the insides of the couch. Moving between the cushions must have gotten "old" and she felt she needed new territory to explore. What else is there for a rat to do but chew holes and climb around?
As Elizabeth and I stood by the couch, we could hear Allison moving around and just looked at each other - wondering how we were going to free our little critter. Elizabeth was crying and I could tell she was worried. To be honest, I was a bit concerned, too. I had visions of poor little Allison never finding her way out; of me needing to cut her out of the couch. In spite of my true feeling, I tried to present a calm, confident facade in order to not further upset my daughter. I prayed out loud, "Jesus, we really need to find this little rat," and I suggested we tip the couch over to see if we could reach her that way. I thought maybe the movement would cause her to "surface" in a new place.
With the couch on its "face," we looked through an opening in the bottom.
No luck.
So Elizabeth lay down on the floor and tried another angle. Suddenly there was hope in her voice as she called, "Mom, I can see her! Quick, get me a Cheerio!"
I ran to the cupboard and grabbed some Cheerios to give Elizabeth and, it worked! Allison poked her head out of the hole and Elizabeth held the Cheerio out in front of her - just out of reach. As Allison moved forward to claim her prize, Elizabeth grabbed her and brought her the rest of the way out of the couch.
With the rat safely in her cage, Elizabeth stood up, looked at me, and let the tears flow. I just hugged her. That's all I could do. Nothing more to do or say, just hold my little girl - who is almost as big as me - in my arms and let her emotions do their thing. Though it may sound strange, that was a very sweet moment. Allison was safely out of the couch and Elizabeth was free to let her emotions go. I was so glad to be able to hold her in that moment.

Later, when I was sitting on her bed saying good-night, Elizabeth told me, "I could tell Allison was afraid tonight, too. But I think God let her get into the couch to remind us we can trust Him." I smiled at her and replied, "I think you're right, Honey. He sure took care of her, didn't He?"
It was a perfect picture of His care for us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations which seem impossible. We think, I'm never going to make it out of here. This situation is too much for me. I'm afraid and lost. I don't know what to do!
But God knows, and He cares for us. Maybe He tips the couch. Maybe He leads us out with a Cheerio. Whatever He does - it's perfect - and we are reminded we can trust Him.

Who knew God would use those critters, which I was so reluctant to buy, to teach spiritual Truths. He doesn't waste anything, does He!



JanMary said...

Great opportunity and illustration - just a pity it had to involve a rat...I just can't do rats! (Even ones called Allison)

luvmy4sons said...

Elizabeth is a wise girl! We lost a hamster in the same way. I had to put a slice in the chair so he would come out for the food as he got in through a more than tiny place! The only rat we have now is frozen in the freezer for the snake! Sorry! But we did Gerbils and hamsters...same thing, right? Too funny! Life!

Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

This was such a wonderful story and great illustration of the Father's love! I just love how CALM you were!!!!

We "do" Friday family movie night, too! I LOVE Fridays!!!!

StaceyStace said...

We had a hamster named "Skid Mark" because of the dark line down his back. His named turned into "Skiddy" and finally, "Houdini Skiddarini". He pulled a vanishing act and we NEVER found him. Even when we moved I expected to find his poor little skeleton somewhere but he was never to be found!

Alisun said...

Oh, I feel for her we have a Winston (hamster) and he is a very valuable life in our family with our little girl too. I really like how it became a story of the love our father has for us and how he cares for us.

Anonymous said...

what a great story. and how wonderful that you have raised such a daughter that can find God's meaning in mundane circumstances.

thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Leah said...

I love the line about how God leads us out with a Cheerio!! He has sure used a lot of Cheerios up with me over the years!! Praise Him for His faithfulness!


Rochelle said...

What a good story! I know Keilani's gerbil, Pilot, has taught us a lot! I have posted many of posts concerning that thing! I am so impressed with your ability to keep your cool! Good job mom!

Edie said...

I just love your animal stories! I love the lesson in this and that your daughter SAW HIM! That is just awesome.

I also found a little nugget in here for me too. "Whatever He does - it's perfect - and we are reminded we can trust Him." This has been the message He has been bringing to my attention over the last several days. Thanks sister.

Now I'm off to read Elizabeth's side of the story. This should be good! :)