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Flea Medicine

I gave my cat a dose of flea medicine today. He didn’t like it. For that matter, he didn’t like it the last time or the time before that either. As one who feared doctors and shots as a kid, I almost understand. Only, this medicine isn’t a shot. It’s not even a pill to disguise as something nice. It is simply a little tube of liquid. It is dispensed by holding the small end of the tube against his neck and squeezing the large end. His body absorbs the medicine through the skin, which in turn helps repel fleas and ticks.

An observer would suspect I tortured him.

One problem is that Prince and I don’t spend a lot of time up close. He isn’t a cuddly cat, and I’m not a cuddly master. It is fine with me that he doesn’t care for too much petting. The fact that he doesn’t even like being touched isn’t really a problem until I need to catch him. Catch him I must, because he won’t come for the medicine on his own.

The act of catching him wasn’t truly hard this time. I grabbed him while he was eating on the front porch. Of course, hanging on after that first grab proved a different story. In the struggle, the tube of medicine got dropped over the edge of the porch. Fortunately, it didn’t spill.

I picked up my cat, carried him down the steps, and recovered the medication.

Grabbing both front legs in one hand, I pushed the narrow end of the tube through his fur with the other. A quick squeeze and the drug was on the cat.

The poor animal fled like a prisoner escaping torture. At least I’m learning not to feel like a monster after such episodes. Prince came around later. Apparently, the indignity wrought on him was forgotten. He wanted to be my friend again.

I’m too much like my cat sometimes. True, doctors and shots don’t scare me like they did forty years ago--well, not quite as much anyway. But I still resist and run from things that are good for me. My reaction to God’s work comes especially to mind. At the most basic level, God has saved and sustains me by the work of His Spirit, but as I move on, He seeks to make me like Himself. There is no better state imaginable than to be like God, but I tend to squirm and run when I don’t like His means of leading me into that condition.

In the Bible, God calls part of this refining work “chastening.” He talks about it at length in Hebrews 12. Verse 11 of that chapter says: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” I’m aware of this truth. Yet, I forget it so easily. I tend to fret over life’s disappointments and challenges. Even recognizing that God uses these same circumstances to make me more effective in serving Him sometimes fails to calm me. I’m too much like my cat. I react to things designed by One wiser than I for my good as if they were terrible. That I’m theoretically smart enough to know better only makes things worse. 

Last month Prince didn’t get his medicine. I kept putting the ordeal off until it was too late. I don’t enjoy his reaction much more than he enjoys my medicine. I’m thankful God is a more reliable Master than I am. He doesn’t procrastinate because I fuss and squirm. Better still, He welcomes me with open arms when I come out of hiding.

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