A Suburban Kitten

August 26, 2020
Tim Lien

On some days I’m not sure I want the Lion of Judah getting into my business. It seems that a Suburban Kitten of Meridian might work a little better for me.

Yes, a kitten—a declawed kitten that does his business in a pre-zoned litter box. I need a kitten of Judah-Adjacent to fit my schedule, fit my lifestyle. This kitten would like all the people I like and would hiss at all the people who annoy me. Kitty would not wander and would roam within a tightly confined range of expected pawtrol. I don’t really need a Lion. Not in suburbia. I need a kitten who stays beige and reflects the neighborhood.

That might be nice.

Sure, I’d let him stay quirky and have his aloof me-time, slinking away to maintain the illusion of individuality, but he’d have to stay inside the house. On occasion, I’d need this kitty to cuddle. When he did step out of line I’d have to use the spray bottle or stern verbal correction. No sense in having a misbehaving kitty. Kitty needs to obey.

That’s what I need. A spiritual mascot of sorts. A manageable mini-me feline. An emotional comfort god, who knows my mood and adapts appropriately.

Who would ever want a Lion powerful enough to disrupt my suburban dreams?! Not this guy.

Is the kitty I want different from the Lion He is?

Do I want kitty to have the power to knock over plants, dreams, and my safely assembled life? Do I want kitty to have the power over life and death? Do I want kitty to have every lever of natural phenomenon and force at his disposal? Do I want him to guide everything?

My suburban American kitten is unrecognizable to Christian brothers and sisters who have emigrated from elsewhere. My kitten is unknown to the bygone generations of Jesus-followers. You can’t find my kitty in the Scriptures— it has
proven impossible.

If the beautiful trappings of American suburbia are proof that God loves you, imagine what you feel in the horrifying event of their absence. Bad, kitty, bad.
People I care about are starting to experience the tremors and cracking of their suburban American dreams. It feels like theft in slow motion. It feels like the kitten has grown into a Lion and seems uncontrollable. Or angry. Or both.

For today, my friend: The marker of God’s approval and fierce love over your life is not in the presence or absence of suburbia’s bounty. Your mood, identity, and worth will rise and fall in their presence or absence. The marker of God’s love is seen in the Lion of Judah, who has frightening power, yes. But he voluntarily set that power aside to become more like a kitty—well, a lamb. The kitty-lamb was slaughtered, so that you wouldn’t be.

Who slaughters a kitty-lamb?! A Father who loves you like He loves His own Son, that’s who.

2020 The Way - SGV