A mouse named Zoey
A few weeks ago, two of my children were outside and made a discovery that has impacted our lives on so many levels. One of them looked down, and noticed something small and helpless in our driveway. It was a baby mouse – only a few days old. The day was sunny (and abnormally warm) and the tiny mouse appeared to be near death. It was at this point, that the children made a decision… they decided to pick up the mouse, bring it inside, and attempt to nurse it back to health. This decision required the necessity of making a new mouse “home” (a cardboard shoebox with all the necessary “mousy” materials and surroundings). It also required some research online (they looked up several articles on baby mice and what they needed to survive). In their research they discovered that baby mice needed “mouse baby formula;” so, off they went to the local pet supply store to purchase the needed formula (I didn’t even know they had such things!) and the tiny paint brush to feed the baby mouse. This decision, to resuscitate the mouse, also required that the children had to feed the mouse every two hours (which included making up the formula, warming the formula, and physically holding and feeding the tiny mouse). They each took turns, getting up in the middle of the night, to take care of their new-found responsibility. All the while, the wife and I just knew that the children’s efforts would be fruitless – so we began to form those “life-lesson” words to share with the kids when the inevitable happened. But much to our surprise, the tiny, beleaguered mouse survived the first night… and the next days and nights after that… It soon became apparent that the little mouse would survive her ordeal, and soon would become an adopted member of our family. After a week (and much debate), the kids named her “Zoey.” I thought it very appropriate. In the Greek language, “Zoey” means “life.” This little mouse was rescued from death and brought back to life through the direct intervention of our kids – and to this day, Zoey is a part of our family.
Zoey got me to thinking… The “life-lessons” were really for me. Sometimes the best lessons in life are the ones that occur in our everyday lives. God is always teaching us… if we will take the time to observe and learn. The first lesson I learned, from the ordeal with Zoey, is a crucial one. You see, Zoey will never bring anything of real value to our lives. Mice do not protect the family, or do chores around the yard, or provide any semblance of companionship, etc. In short, a mouse brings nothing to improve our lives – they give nothing of worth to our lives. Quite honestly, they are, most often, a nuisance. They are creatures we have no qualms about eliminating whenever they are discovered “messing” with our stuff. We, personally, have even been known to set traps and kill these unwanted creatures when they encroach upon “our turf.” And yet, here we are, bringing one into our home and making sacrifices to keep it, preserve it, and to provide it a place within our family.
The only reason this might ever happen is because my kids looked down on something helpless and suffering and reached out with tender compassion. That which had no real value, suddenly, became greatly valued in the eyes of the ones who were committed to expend their efforts and energies to take a helpless (and worthless) creature in. Suddenly I realized… this is the Heart of God toward us.
We bring nothing of any real value to Him. We are nothing but a nuisance, deserving of only contempt and destruction. But God looks at us, sees us in our state of helplessness and despair, and just simply extends His love to us. He sees us not as we are.. but through the eyes of One who “filters” His sight through the lens of His eternal love. His compassion towards us is the living testimony of His love. Because we are the objects of His attention and affection, we are valued in His eyes.
The real focus of the story of Zoey, is not a tiny mouse – it is the focus upon the ones whose acts of compassion rescued and restored something worthless, and in so doing, made it something of worth. This is the essence of God’s story with each of us. He looks down upon us, in our state of worthlessness and helplessness, and reaches down to lift us up, hold us in His Hands, and bring us into His own Home – to make us a part of His family. It is the story of His grace extended, to give life to those who need what He has to give. Just like a mouse named Zoey, we are each recipients of the acts of His amazing love. As the children’s song so truly says: we are precious in His sight!