Even pets can hear God

Helping children learn about God's care

Do you have any pets? If you do, or if you have had any in the past, you know that usually you either pick out or are given your pet to love and care for. I remember seeing giveaway pets when I was a kid – small, meowing kittens in a box or squirmy, warm puppies that someone was trying to find homes for. Some would have a sign by the box, "Free to good home." I would want to take one with me, but I knew I couldn't unless I asked my parents.

Now, I live in my own house and don't have to ask my parents' permission, and I still don't have a kitten or puppy. I have chickens – very small chickens with golden brown feathers and shiny black tail feathers. But I didn't go out and buy them. No one gave them to me. They just arrived one day, and the rooster began crowing early every morning.

How do you think they knew that my yard was safe and that I would love them and buy cracked corn to feed them? Somehow they came to a "good home" and stayed. Was it just chicken luck?

I have thought about it, and I don't think chance or luck brought them to my woods and backyard. I think that God helped them, and that God guides even chickens.

When I need to make a decision about what to do, I ask God to help me. Prayers are sometimes lists of things we think God should know about. We might give Him a list of people we want Him to bless, like this: "And God bless Dad and Mom, my sister and brother, my teacher and my goldfish, and, oh, yes, God bless me."

We might give him a list of things we want, and, to be polite, we start with saying "please": "Please, God, I want ..." is how that prayer often begins. But it is always a good idea to start with a thank-you or with gratitude. "Thank you, God, for being a good God."

But what about a listening prayer? Listening for God's answer before we even know what the question is or have time to ask Him. Because God loves you and me, and even my chickens, so very much, He will help us even if we don't tell him what we want or need. I think of God only as all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful. All means no room for sometimes. God is not a sometimes loving, sometimes knowing, and sometimes powerful God. He is an always God. Always good. Always aware of what I need and always ready to guide me. His power is stronger than the suggestion that something bad will happen and that there is nothing you or I can do about it.

Think about it this way. Someone whispers to you, "Psst, you have peanut butter on your face." That is a suggestion. Should you believe it? You look in a mirror and see for yourself that it isn't true. God is like a mirror for what is true and what is false. No amount of whispering suggestions can make the false true.

You can whisper that I have peanut butter on my face for a long time, but if I know it isn't true, I will just laugh and listen to God. He will tell me what is true, just as a mirror tells me that I don't have anything like that on my face.

I have a favorite "don't be worried" Bible passage. Jesus said it during a sermon. He told the people listening not to be worried or anxious about the future because God would take care of them. He said, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them" (Matt. 6:26). Fowl is another word for birds, including chickens.

You are just as special to God as the birds, and He will make certain you have whatever you need, whenever you need it. Just listen. Praying is a way of remembering we always have a "good home" and are always cared for.

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