Scarlet the Cat

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” (Isa. 49:15).

Homer Hailey places the above cry by God “among the most tender expressions to be found in the Old Testament” (Isaiah, Baker, 1985, 411). Isaiah’s question is designed to elicit a negative answer. Certainly a mother could not forget about an infant child at her breast. At least it is very, very unlikely that she would forget. Only in the rarest of situations will one find a mother so unfit that she would treat her child in this way. Even if a mother could do that, God’s love for his people is so much greater that forgetting about them is impossible. “His love is infinite, transcending that of mankind as far as the heavens are higher than the earth” (Ibid.). John T. Willis agrees: “It would be difficult to imagine a stronger affirmation of love and fidelity!” (Isaiah, ACU Press, 1980, 402).
And now from God’s animal creation comes a story of motherly love and devotion. Scarlet is a cat known by that name due to her patches of red. In late March firefighters were fighting a blaze in Brooklyn, New York. Scarlet had five kittens inside of a garage that was on fire. She brought her kittens out to safety one at a time. As the fire worsened, Scarlet the cat kept going back into the building until every one of her kittens was safe on the street outside. Her fur was singed. Her paws were burned. Her eyes were blistered shut, but she did not forget about her kittens. Within two days the animal shelter which was caring for Scarlet had received over 700 calls from people offering to adopt this homeless hero and her kittens. Marge Stein, the manager of the animal shelter, concluded: “It shows with all creatures, animals or people, there’s no way of measuring a mother’s love.”
The Bible uses many metaphors to teach us of the love of God. It uses the metaphor of a father (Lk. 15:11-32). It uses the metaphor of a mother (Isa. 49:15). Knowing the practical manner of our Lord’s teaching, if Jesus had read a newspaper account of Scarlet the cat, I feel sure he could have preached a powerful sermon on God’s love with that analogy.
Joel Stephen Williams

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