“It was raining cats and dogs, and I fell in a poodle.” — Charles A. Murray
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s raining cats and dogs?” Canines and felines falling from the sky happened with the latest severe tornado outbreak in the Midwest.
The phrase’s origin is unclear; some suggest it originates from Norse mythology or medieval superstitions. We don’t know for sure; Etymologists—people who study the origins of words—have offered a variety of mythological and literal explanations for why people say “it’s raining cats and dogs” it’s to describe a heavy downpour.¹
Since the beginning, cats and dogs are often portrayed as disliking each other. Many cartoons, movies, musicals, and poetry depict this so-called tension between canines and felines, or, if you wish, our furry friends. Of course, there are always exceptions to this notion, and there are countless stories to validate this truth.
Today I wish to share one of those stories, which is exceptional and reminds us of a powerful spiritual lesson. On or around April 1, 2023, a tornado struck the town of Robinson, IL, and caused fatalities and major destruction. We have witnessed a pattern of tornado outbreaks in 2023 through the Midwest.
A dear friend told me that one of his family members lost their home during this storm. They were fortunately not home on the evening the devastating tornado touched down, but unfortunately, their two dogs and two cats were. When they were allowed to visit what was left of their home, they discovered that first responders could only find one of the cats and one of the dogs, but there were no signs of the other two. You can imagine the heartache this family was experiencing.
There are many stories of tremendous loss and devastation that materialize from the acts of Mother Nature, but there is a happy ending to this story. Yesterday my friend reported that they found the other cat and dog TOGETHER in a field near the home. The two were healthy, and it appears they never left each other’s side, so much for the theory that puppies and kitties can’t experience unity and compatibility, especially in times of great trial. What a joyous ending to a tragic story, but what does this story have to teach us about ourselves?
We live in a time when the world is experiencing deep polarization—a deep divide. This furry tandem teaches us that we must be unified in times of trouble, not divided. We must stick together or slowly perish because we were never created to be alone. God calls us to be one body, now and forever (Ephesians 4:4).
We are in Holy Week, and today is Maundy Thursday. Celebrated the Thursday before Easter, scholars believe Maundy Thursday was the day when Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples. Jesus taught the disciples what communion truly meant and how it should symbolize his death and resurrection through the bread and wine of the Passover Meal. When Jesus arrived for the Passover meal, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, but not without great resistance. After showing this example of humility, love, and service, Jesus commanded his disciples to go and serve likewise. Jesus also foretells his betrayal during this time. Maundy Thursday commemorates the day Jesus turned his will and life over to the care of his Father and prayed, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
If God’s words are true, and we are to be one, then it will require the unnatural; we need for it to “rain cats and dogs” around the globe, proving humanity can live as one if we quit living for our self-interest and start living as God commands us to live. Only with this attitude and commitment will we experience unity, peace, love, hope, joy, forgiveness, and all the countless promises God foretells if we put our will in line with God’s.
This pair of furry creatures prove to us once again that it’s possible for the lion to lay with the lamb and for the diversity of people from around the globe to live and thrive together in harmony. I hope we can learn from God’s creatures to choose life over death by sticking together through thick and thin, especially when the storms of life touch down in our lives.
The image credit is from Honorable Mr. Cat. Helen Hyde, 1903. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress