Savannah is five, and she has a white cat that she named Elisa. They play games together, like hide and seek. Savannah told how they play: "We each hide and then count, and then we find each other."
Elisa is like lots of cats. She's pretty independent. When Savannah got her, she wanted to hold and cuddle her all the time. But that's not what Elisa wanted. So Savannah had to learn to let Elisa come to her. "I had to learn how to hold her." Now they're good friends. Sometimes Elisa sleeps in Savannah's bed with her. They cuddle before going to sleep.
At Savannah's house, Elisa is free to go in and out whenever she wants. And she does. No one knows where she goes or what she does, but she comes back home again at night. Sometimes when she wants to get back in, she jumps up on the sill of Dad's office window to let him know she wants to come in. Then Dad opens the window latch, and Elisa comes in for the night.
One night, Elisa didn't come home. The family was sure that she'd be there in the morning. But she wasn't. Everyone was worried. Where was Elisa? They decided to put up signs in the neighborhood, telling people about their lost cat.
Dad remembered that he'd lost lots of cats. They would just run off and never return. So, at first, he thought this is what Elisa had done. But Dad knew how much Savannah loved Elisa and wanted her back, and he wanted to help. He knew he could pray. (Dad has learned lots about God from the Bible and from a book about the Bible, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy.)
Dad thought about God. The Bible explains that God made everything. He made all the things that fly, and all the things that are in the oceans, and all the things that creep on the earth. All the living things are God's ideas. That included cats, of course. So Elisa was really God's cat.
Dad also thought about how God is Love and is everywhere. So wherever Elisa was, God was right there, loving her and protecting her. God was taking care of Her cat, so Dad knew that Elisa was OK. He told Savannah.
Savannah asks lots of questions, because she wants to know about God. Dad told her that God is real, but since God is Spirit, He is everywhere. Not just in one place. Savannah understood that, and she likes to think about it. She understood that wherever Elisa was, God was right there, too.
Then an unhappy thought came to Dad. "What if the cat doesn't come back?" He was afraid for a while. Then he thought, "No, I trust God. I trust God 100 percent. God loves and takes care of His creation. So bad stuff can't ever get to God's creation."
That night after dark, Savannah and her sister Chandler were in the bathtub. Mom looked outside and saw something white in the neighbor's flower bed. It was Elisa! Mom brought her in and told the girls. Elisa had a scratch on her paw, but otherwise she was just fine. Savannah got right out of the tub and kissed her.
Savannah told Dad, "You were right. God did protect Elisa."
Dad says he learned something that helps him a lot. "Now I know God is in control in every situation. So if I'm worried about something big, or something little, I know that I can trust God totally, 100 percent!"
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor