“Animals are footprints of God.”
Scripture hints that God presents himself to us through his creatures with Balaam. His donkey stopped because an angel was standing in the way, and “the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth” to speak directly to Balaam.
When Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness, Mark’s gospel indicates that he was “with the wild animals and angels attended him,” implying that animals aided and supported the Son of God.
The Bible also reports that the life of animals is from and through God. In Revelation 4:11, John wrote, “for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Numbers 27:16 claims, “God who gives breath to all living things.”
For those who live with and care for pets it is likely that you’ve experienced God’s presence in the love and companionship they give so freely and purely. My life has been touched by animals with so many miraculous and holy moments that I am certain God is with me and has spoken to my soul through his creatures.
Recently the struggle to deal with infirmity and age overcame the quality of life for Cocoa, my cat. During his eighteen years, God worked through him to bless me and others. I happen to believe Cocoa was waiting for me before he was born, as I had waited 11 years for him.
One day I decided at the last minute to go to a cat show. I found my heaven-sent soulmate – Cocoa – immediately just inside the door of the show. The second I picked him up he began purring and immediately an unbreakable bond was formed.
Cocoa cared for me throughout the years. Once, when I’d had Cocoa for just six months, he jumped on my work desk and pat tears from my cheeks. One of our dogs was dying of cancer and I had been crying.
He would travel with me on quiet retreats. I would take him to my mother’s nursing care facility where he patiently let dozens of frail residents pass him around and pet him.
He would not leave my side when I was sick or injured, and once when an intruder tried to break in he tried desperately to protect me.
Cocoa was funny, serious, mellow and supremely serene. The other cats cuddled with him and he gently groomed them. Everyone loved Cocoa. Most of all he loved completely and thoroughly. His greatest joy in life came from just being with me.
Regardless of how badly he felt, every time I touched him or picked him up, he purred. The day he no longer was able to do that was the deciding factor to ease him into God’s care. He died peacefully and I felt his last breath slip through me like a whisper of a purr, holy and precious.
Cocoa truly was a cat of wonder. Through Cocoa’s acts of comfort, his peaceful, steady, unwavering presence and boundless love, God whose essence is the same, revealed himself. I am grateful for the gift of his life, and through him, the knowledge and love of God.
Look to your animals. Let God find you through them.
“I can find God in…animals…”
Pat Buckley, clergyman, Ireland