When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He gave them the perfect template in what is commonly called The Lord's Prayer. Part of this prayer was to pray for the kingom to come. I believe it is right to pray for His kingdom to come. Recently, I viewed something that astonished me and created in me an urgent feeling to pray more fervently than I had ever prayed before...to pray for the King of this coming kingom to come...and to come quickly.
I was driving to work one day when in the middle of nowhere, in the desolate stretches of a Kansas highway...far away from any farm or home, I saw an abandoned kitten so tiny and so vulnerable, sitting in the opposite lane of a 65 mph highway. When I was traveling on this roadway, I saw something in the other lane and when I went by I slowed down to see that someone had obviously dropped off a little kitten...probably by someone whose mother cat had just had a litter of kittens because, as I said previously, there were no homes even remotely close. It would have been impossible for this kitten to have made it this far away from a home by itself. When I slowed down with the sudden urge to go back and rescue it, a huge semitractor trailer came roaring by and I thought that this little life was about to be snuffed out. When I came back, what I saw was just a tiny spot of fur and remains spread out over the same lane of the highway where the kitten had previously been. I have not been able to get this image out of my mind since.
Now, about a week later, I am still haunted by this image. This kitten looking up at me as I passed by in my car. I can still see this kitten's eyes looking up in wonder as I passed, as if thinking, "I am so frightened..what I'm I going to do.?" It was a hot day by this hour and it was likely hungry and thirsty. I had to go back to see if the kitten had survived but I came back only to see the remains of this little one. I cried and cried. I could not stop. I knew, working with foster care children, I had to gather myself together because I didn't want to come to transport a foster care child in the emotional condition that I was in. Repeatedly, I prayed to God the Father for His kingdom to come. Jesus, I said, please come quickly. During the same week I had seen the remains of two other kittens who had just been crushed by speeding vehicles who were also left in some desolate stretch of another highway. I have seen my fair share of dogs dumped off too in such remote places. What heartaches there are in this world. This made me think of the verse from Revelation 22:20 which I often hear paraphrased, "Even so come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." As the writer of Hebrews states, ""In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay" (Heb 10:37). That is what I have been praying for after seeing this more than ever.
I am not saying that animals have more value than human beings but what I felt was that only the Lord God Himself can come and set things right in this world and it will take the power of God to do it. How calloused are some people...and how much worse is this world going to get before His return? How can someone do such things and still sleep at night? Jesus told His disciples to pray ""When you pray, say:"Father, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come" (Luke 11:2). This "Your kingdom come" I believe is to seek earnestly, pray fervently, and desire passionately for His kingdom to come when there will be no more of the tragic images that you and I see almost every day. Some of the images I see with these foster children are so devasting. We have what is called "tramua traning" just so the foster care employees can endure working with children who come from such heartwrenching circumstances. I yearn for the day when His "kingdom [will] come [and His] will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10).
I thought of Jonah who was angry that God sent a worm to devour the plant that shaded him, yet Jonah didn't care about the thousands of people and animals that would be sent to eternal destruction. Hear the Lord's response to this in Jonah 4:9-11: "But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" And he said, "Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die." And the Lord said, "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" Of course we should care for animals but how many other lost souls are on the highway of death with a Mack truck coming right at them and they don't even know it's coming. God does care for animals but lost souls are precious to God too. I wept for that abandoned, crushed kitten. Now God, I pray, put that same compassion for lost souls in me and for me to be bold in witnessing for you and your glory. As God has spoken, "should not I pity Nineveh, that great city?" God does pity the least of the creatures of the earth but should we not pity those in our own Nineveh? Yes, the animals...but how much more the lost souls of men and women?
Jack Wellman is a pastor and Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.