The Kitten And
It was unusually dark for being just eight o’clock in the evening. A 16-hour power out had left our small community in India in a thick blackness. Dinner was over and we were congregated on the porch waiting for the electricity to come back on. A kerosene lamp dimly lit the corridor. The evening prayers would be said at nine o’clock. Perhaps the lights would turn on by then. Children gathered in small groups and spoke quietly as the adults lounged sleepily here and there amongst them. Mosquitoes swarmed in the night air creating a strange, quiet hum.
Five year Johnson, affectionately known as Johnny, had been sitting quietly at my feet playing contentedly with his little black and white kitten. She batted playfully at the finger Johnny twirled in the air just above her tiny, pink nose. Suddenly, the kitten stopped, perked her ears, and went stone still for a moment. Her gaze fixed on something beyond the area illuminated by our small lamp. She hopped gracefully from Johnny’s lap in pursuit of whatever her beady eyes had fallen upon. Johnny gleefully fell in step behind her, despite my warning him to come back. Johnny was after his kitten and paid me no heed. Finally, I sent Siva after him. Siva was a bright youngster in the sixth grade, and readily obeyed me. She followed in the direction that Johnny and his kitten had gone, and was out of sight for just moments before running back to me, obviously panicked. Taking me by the hand, she led me to the scene that caused her fear. As I looked, my heart leaped to my throat and I went rigid. There, coiled in front of me, was a black cobra, its hood flared and his head moving hypnotically back and forth, hissing at the kitten, which was moving in circles around it. Terrified and stunned, I stood motionless alongside Siva, peering in the darkness to see what would happen. The next thing we knew, we were blinded by bright light—the electricity was turned back on. As our eyes adjusted, we could see clearly the little kitten as it stared down the cobra, still waving back and forth in the air. Two men cautiously approached the terrible snake from behind and struck it on the head, killing it.
That night as we said our prayers, I knelt beside little Johnny’s bed. Curled in his arms, purring softly, was his kitten. In the darkness we are unaware of what may visit us, and his kitten had saved us from a very dangerous predator. Yes, God uses not just humans, but animals too, for his purpose. He used ravens to feed his prophet, a great whale to carry Jonah, a donkey to check his servant—and just tonight, Jesus had used a tiny kitten to warn us of the venomous serpent so that we could sleep safely in his care. God is ever present to safeguard his people, and his mightiest helpers are sometimes the smallest.
Alicia A. Freedman