Recently, my second son, Jason, came running into the house to beg me for a piece of cheese. Now this was an unusual request, because he doesn’t like cheese very much. So after a few probing questions, I discovered that he wanted to feed a tiny little mouse who was sitting outside the door to our garage. Against my initial recoil from the idea of a rodent nearby, I told him it was OK to leave a small piece on the stairs. Certain that the little creature would soon scamper away, I put the incident out of my mind and soon forgot it. A couple of days later my daughter, Laura, caught sight of the mouse again one morning on her way out the door to college. Again, I was informed about his presence when my husband, Clif, came in from work. And it was only a day or so later that I met up with the yet unnamed animal myself.
Soon the sightings became so frequent, that I concluded that this mouse had found his way into our garage, and had taken up residence. I didn’t want him or his friends living nearby so Jason and I set out to catch him and return him to the nearby woods. It was surprisingly easy to corner him and scoop him into a nearby bucket. I gave Jason the job of freeing our little visitor, and satisfied with my role as “mouse liberator”, I went back into the house, certain that this mini-drama was over.
But … I hadn’t even been in the house long enough to remember what I’d been doing, when Jason called to me from the door of the garage. I left my office and came around the corner to see him standing in the back hallway, holding the bucket. Before I could even look inside, he blurted out his explanation. “He doesn’t want to go in the woods, Mom. He keeps hopping back into my bucket every time I try to let him go. After only a momentary pause, he continued. “And… there’s something wrong with his back legs. They don’t seem to work.”
I leaned in toward the pail for a closer look and sure enough, there was the little mouse resting on his behind with two awkward looking legs splayed off to his right side. Before I could say anything, Jason pleaded, “Can we please help him?” Seeing the concern in his eyes, and instinctively knowing that this critter wouldn’t survive in the wild, I consented to letting the mouse return to the safety of our garage. Thinking that there may already be an established nest nearby, we released him in the corner near where we first found him. I had hoped that he would return to wherever he’d come from, and this time, that we’d be at the end of our mousy tale.
The next day when we were on our way out the door for errands, we saw the little fellow was hopping around. After a few minutes of shooing him around, he was out of harm’s way. However, on our way to the store there was a protracted discussion about possible dangers that existed in and around the garage which could injure or kill him. So when we arrived back home, the kids and I caught our mousy friend (very easily again) and put him in a large bin to keep him safe. Realizing he was near starvation, we supplied him with dried corn and seeds and a small dish of water.
It wasn’t long until we were visiting the garage multiple times a day to check his water and to make sure he was OK. Less than a week later we’d retrieved an old aquarium from my father-in-law’s basement to provide a permanent and safe home for our new family pet! Somewhere along the way we gave him the name “Scooter” (since he scoots around on his behind!) and at that point I knew he had not only moved into our house, but into our hearts as well.
How had this insignificant paraplegic mouse garnered the focused attention of the six people in our house? Why did he matter so much to us? And was there something more I could learn from our unusual response to this tiny creature. As I squatted down to peer into the aquarium/mouse habitat, I looked at that helpless creature and was moved with inordinate compassion. With my incredibly busy life, there was absolutely no reason for me to even have thought twice about this animal. His condition and well-being should have been no consequence to me at all. But here I was standing in my boys’ bedroom checking on him for the fourth time that particular day. Somehow, his helplessness had captured my attention and my heart… and as I thought about it, suddenly, I realized I understood the heart of God a little better.
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simple-hearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
How many of us are much like Scooter? Crippled by this world and too weak to care for ourselves, we crawl along the edge of existence hoping to find a few sustaining crumbs. Emotionally emaciated, we scrape out a life for ourselves but find little to sustain us for any length of time. We starve for attention and thirst for significance. But our helpless state does not go unnoticed. In His great compassion, God notices our destitute condition, and moves into rescue us. He scoops us up, tenderly cares for our needs and even takes us into His own home to make us part of His family. His loving-kindness gives our lives worth, value and significance. There’s really no reason such a great and mighty God should take notice of us, but He does. He not only notices, He loves us enough to make us His own.