China, the Cat

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Mr. and Mrs. LeConner could smell the fresh sea breeze as they stepped out of their pickup truck. They had just arrived at a campsite at the edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the state of Washington, and the place was beautiful. Looking through the trees, they could see blue water stretching out to the horizon. They looked forward to spending a few days of peace and quiet in this spot.
However, in the trailer behind the truck, their black cat named China had different ideas. She was not used to riding in the trailer, and the long ride had upset the cat.
She had only one thought when the door of the trailer opened... escape! She streaked through the doorway and hit the ground running... under the picnic table and off into the undergrowth.
The strange surroundings frightened her, and she ran to a very tall fir tree that was leaning out over the water. Digging her claws into its rough bark, she climbed as if her life were in danger.
Up and up she climbed. Mrs. LeConner called out, "China, stop, please stop!" But China didn't stop. She climbed until she was nearly seventy feet high! Then she found a resting place in the crook of a branch.
The LeConners begged their cat to come down. They made the smacking sounds they used to call her at mealtimes. They placed specially cooked food at the bottom of the tree, hoping she would smell it and come down. But China didn't budge from her resting place.
Cat's claws are designed in such a way that climbing up tree trunks is fairly easy, but climbing back down is difficult for all but an experienced cat.
The LeConners spent four days trying to coax their cat out of the tree. The closest fire department could not help. Seventy feet is nearly eight stories high, and their tallest ladders were only half that height.
On the fourth day of their not so-relaxing camping trip, the LeConners gave up trying to recover their pet and returned home without her.
Would poor China ever get rescued? The campground director felt sorry for the cat. He stopped to talk to her every day as he checked all the campsites. He even contacted the local newspaper, which ran a story about the cat.
On the tenth day China had spent in the tree, a young man who worked as a logger offered to rescue her. He put long, spiked cleats onto his boots and, using a leather strap wrapped around the trunk, he started up. Painstakingly this man climbed fifty, sixty, seventy feet up the tree. Just as he reached out his hand to grab the cat, she backed away frightened... and fell.
Because of China's bad choice to climb up that tree with no way to get back down, she was in a very dangerous spot. Then to make matters worse, when someone wanted to rescue her, she backed away from him and didn't want his help. This led to a fall that could tragically end her life.
You and I have made some pretty bad choices in our lives too. Our choices have been sinful ones. And we also have backed away from the one person who can rescue us from the danger we are in. The one who wants to rescue us also loves us-the Lord Jesus Christ. He sees exactly where we are in our sinful lives and wants to save us from our sins. But like China, we back off and don't want help.
On the long way down, China bounced off a few branches. The logger called out to the men below what he could see: "She bounced off a rock and slid into the water... I see her trying to swim!"
Quickly the campground director climbed down the rocky bank and waded out into the water. He picked up China as she was struggling to climb onto a rock. He saw that she had been badly hurt by the fall.
The campground director rushed China to a veterinarian where she required immediate surgery for a broken hip and broken leg. The surgery went well, but the owners didn't want to pay the very expensive bill and gave up all claim to the cat. People in the local community got together and collected money to pay for the surgery. After recovering from her injuries for several weeks, China was put up for adoption. You will be glad to know that China now has a new home where she is loved and well cared for.
If you don't know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you are in great danger too. God's Word says, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)). To rescue us from our sins, the Son of God came to this earth and went all the way to the cross. "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:33For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (1 Corinthians 15:3)). Because of the price He paid for sin, all who believe on Him will be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life. "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:1515That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:15)).
How sad and fatal will be the fall of all those who refuse His call to be saved from their sins. When they leave this world, they will be sent away from His presence for all eternity. The saddest part is that it doesn't have to happen. "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:99The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)).
Do you hear the voice of the Savior calling to you to come to Him and be saved? Will you let Him rescue you from your sins?
It seemed as though Opo's mother had been killed, and because she was so lonely, the young dolphin turned to people for companionship. At first she followed boats, loving to have her back scratched with an oar or a broom. Then she began to swim around with people who were swimming at Opononi beach. No one knows for sure who first got the courage to touch the wild dolphin, but after Opo learned that swimmers wouldn't hurt her, swimming among the folks at the beach became a daily habit.
She learned to enjoy the company of the swimmers, and they enjoyed the antics and games the dolphin would play. One of Opo's favorite tricks was to find a bottle on the bottom of the ocean, toss it as far and as high as she could with her mouth, and then swim "faster than lightening" to catch the falling bottle on her tail. Onlookers would cheer when Opo did such tricks, and she seemed to enjoy the applause.
It was Opo's special delight to swim among groups of young people. Opo especially enjoyed it when the children of Opononi held their school picnic at the beach. The children all waded out chest deep into the water and formed a circle, holding hands. It seemed as though Opo understood what the children wanted her to do. She swam into the center of the circle to perform tricks with a beach ball.
Opo seemed to sense those children who were gentle and avoided those who played too roughly. Opo's favorite swimming friend was thirteen-year-old Jill Baker, who often swam at that beach. "Whenever Opo saw me go into the water," Jill said, "she would leave the other swimmers and come to me." Opo would often dive between Jill's legs and take her for a ride.
Soon Opo became very well-known, and people traveled long distances to see and touch the friendly dolphin. The store owners near the beach noticed their business picked up. To honor the dolphin that attracted the visitors, they set up a sign at the entrance of the village. It read, "Welcome to Opononi. But please do not kill our happy dolphin."
Opo won the love of so many people that they got together to pass a law forbidding any one to hunt, capture or hurt any dolphin in the bay.
Only a few days after this law was passed, Opo was missing. Volunteers went out to search for her, but they did not find her. Sadly, a clam digger found Opo's body on some rocks. Apparently she was the victim of an underwater explosion.
The townspeople buried Opo on their beach, setting up a monument over her grave in memory of their happy and lovable friend.
Among all of God's creatures, dolphins are some of the most friendly and sociable. When God made them, He gave them a heart which needs others to make them happy. Opo, who had probably lost her mother, found companionship with the swimmers of Opononi beach.
When God made man, He gave man a heart so large that only God is great enough to fill it. Even our best friends, the kindest of brothers and sisters and the most loving parents, although wonderful in themselves, aren't enough to fill a child's or an adult's heart. Only our Maker, the loving Lord Jesus, is able to satisfy our hearts.
"Abide in Me, and I in you" (John 15:44Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)) are the words of the Lord Jesus. How do we abide in Him and He in us? First, we need to know Him as our Savior. Once we admit that we are sinners and accept the salvation He offers us, then the Lord Jesus is our Savior. We then can enjoy loving Him, this Man who loved us so much that He died for us. A hymnwriter wrote, "Jesus! Thou art enough the mind and heart to fill." What a wonderful truth this is!