“Mom, Mom. Come quick! I need a piece of cheese!” my son, Jason, exclaimed as he burst through the garage door into the back hall. I looked up from my work at the computer with, no doubt, a puzzled look on my face since the urgency in his voice didn’t match the content of his request.
The fact that he’s never been a fan of any kind of cheese added to my confusion. So, I hopped up to meet him for more explanation and quickly discovered that the commotion was due to a tiny little mouse who was sitting on the landing outside the adjacent door. Interceding on its behalf, my son begged me for a morsel to feed him. Against my initial recoil from the idea of a rodent nearby, I told him it was OK to leave a small piece of cheese on the stairs. Certain that the little creature would soon scamper away, I put the incident out of my mind and went back to what I was doing.
But I was mistaken … and soon, the furry sightings became so frequent, that I concluded that this mouse must have had taken up residence in our garage. I didn’t want him (or his little friends) living near our house, so I grabbed a small bucket, easily scooped him up, and gave Jason the job of returning our little visitor to the nearby woods. Satisfied with my role as “mouse liberator”, I went back into the house, certain that this mini-drama was now officially over.
But … I hadn’t even been in the house long enough to remember what I’d been doing, when Jason again called to me from the door of the garage. I came around the corner to see my son standing in the back hallway still holding the bucket. Before I could ask what was wrong, he blurted out his explanation. “He doesn’t want to go in the woods, Mom. He keeps hopping back into my bucket every time I try to let him go.” After only a momentary pause, he continued. “And… there’s something wrong with his back legs. They don’t seem to work.”
I leaned in toward the pail for a closer look, and sure enough, there was the little mouse resting on his behind with two awkward looking legs splayed off to his left side. Before I could say anything, Jason pleaded, “Can we please help him?”
Seeing the concern in my son’s eyes, and instinctively knowing that this critter wouldn’t survive in the wild, I consented to a rescue operation. The kids fed our disabled friend and then set him up in a make-shift home on a shelf in the garage.
Less than a week later, he was relocated into an old aquarium in the boys’ room and in reality, he was adopted as our new family pet. Somewhere along the way we gave him the name “Scooter” (since he scoots around on his behind!) and at that point, I knew he had not only moved into our house, but into our hearts as well.
As I squatted down to peer into the aquarium/mouse habitat late one afternoon, I looked at that helpless creature and was moved with inordinate compassion. How had this insignificant paraplegic mouse garnered the focused attention of the six people in our house? Why did he matter so much to us? With my incredibly busy life, there was absolutely no reason to give a second thought to this animal. His condition and well-being should meant nothing to me. But here I was standing in my boys’ bedroom checking on him for the fourth time that particular day. Somehow, his helplessness had captured my attention and my affection… and as I thought about it, suddenly, I understood the heart of God a little better.
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simple-hearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
How many of us are much like Scooter? Crippled by this world and too weak to care for ourselves, we crawl along the edge of existence hoping to find a few sustaining crumbs. Emotionally emaciated, we scrape out a life for ourselves, but find little to sustain us for any length of time. We starve for significance and thirst for meaning.
But our helpless state isn’t overlooked or ignored. God, in His great compassion, sees our destitute condition and moves into rescue us. He scoops us up, tenderly cares for our needs and even takes us into His own home, making us part of His family. His loving-kindness gives our lives worth, value and significance. There’s really no reason such a great and mighty God should give us His attention and affection, but He does. And through our faith in Jesus, He fully adopts us and makes us His own.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us,
|that we would be called children of God.
1 John 3:1