My precious new kittens are a lot of fun. For people that aren't necessarily animal lovers, I am so sorry that you'll never know how much joy you can get from kittens when they purr and cuddle up next to you. Studies have shown that having pets makes you less stressed, and I think Sam would agree that since we've had the kitties I'm like a whole new person. It's just hard not to be cheerful when two adorable animals love you so unconditionally!
Having said that, pets also come with some unpleasant odors. To combat this I've been lighting candles more often than usual. Morty is very curious about the candles, and more than once I've caught him about to jump on the table to see what fire is all about. This morning when I sharply told him, "No!" and squirted him with water (the best form of discipline for cats), he quickly jumped down. He looked at me curiously as he started licking at his wet fur, as if he didn't know why I would squirt him.
It struck me as funny. It's sort of how we view God when we experience something unpleasant, isn't it? God has given us lots of instructions about how we should live in order to protect us. Why didn't I let Morty near the fire? Because I knew it would hurt him. I love this little kitty cat and would hate to see him get burned and in so much pain. Even though he didn't like the water, I'm sure he'd prefer it to scorched paws.
God's love for us is far more than my love for Morty, more than we can even fathom, so His desire to protect us is even stronger. He knows that the consequences of sin will be quite painful for us, and is doing everything He can to keep us from hurting ourselves. But that fire is just so tempting, and we don't think the consequences will really be that bad, so we go ahead and touch it. After being burned, we lash out at God, wondering how a loving God could allow pain. Well, what position have we put God in, that we don't want to experience being burned, yet we also despise His warnings against touching the flames? Isn't it really our own stupid fault?
Do not misunderstand; I am more than aware that horrible things happen to good people who have done nothing to deserve it. I'm speaking specifically of situations we bring upon ourselves. Senseless cancer that appears from nowhere for no reason is quite different from the lung cancer that a lifelong smoker develops. When tragedy is the result of our bad judgment, we can't blame God for allowing it to happen when He's done all but spray us with water to warn us.
I'm talking to myself here as well. There have been plenty of times I've been annoyed by the voice in my head telling me the right thing to do, when all I want is to do the opposite. And I can justify it all I want by saying, "I just have to decide what's right for me." But it doesn't work that way. Fire doesn't become harmless just because we decide it's right for us. Sometimes we may get lucky and just be a little singed, but why even play with fire? Why not trust that God truly does know what's best for us and try to follow Him?