For When We Just Don’t Know


It’s been two days since I heard his pitiful cry at the back door. It’s how he and I would begin our mornings, ever since he showed some discontent with his indoor living situation and became an indoor/outdoor kitty. I would turn on the light in the kitchen and would almost instantly hear the soft tinkling of the bell on his collar and his persistent mow-MOW coming from the garage. He just wanted attention; most days, I just wanted quiet so I could have my quiet time before the rest of the family got up and the day began for real.

But yesterday morning, I didn’t hear him. Nor this morning. The quiet, though welcome, has been disconcerting.

We don’t know where he is. Our silly, goofy kitty boy has vanished. His food and water remain untouched; the bell of his collar lays ominously silent on the floor of the garage where it apparently fell off a few days ago. When I see it I mentally admonish myself for not putting it back on him when I saw that it had come off.

“But he never, ever left the garage,” I reason. “There was no reason for him to even have a collar.”

And that is the truth. He was the epitome of a scaredy cat, terrified of most everything. The crinkling of a plastic bag would send him running, and heaven help us all if someone dared to get the vacuum out of the closet. So when we put him in the garage, he was altogether uninterested in the adventures to be had in the great outdoors. We tried with no avail to entice him to explore, but he was interested only in laying at the entrance to the garage and looking out….that is, when he ventured out from underneath my husband’s workbench. A fraidy cat, to be sure.

No, he wasn’t cut out for exploring, it seems, and that is what makes it so strange that he would disappear without a trace.

The hardest part of this, for me, is just not knowing. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know if he’s okay. I don’t know what happened, and that makes my already overactive mind run into overdrive.

Sure, there are some things we do know. We know male cats are known for doing this kind of thing. We know that with his predilection to hide from anything and everything, it is unlikely that he would have wandered far. We know that our neighbors would recognize him if they saw him, and would return him to us as soon as they could. We know that.

But the things we don’t know outweigh those few relative certainties, and I have cried several rivers already out of concern for the silly cat.

The truth is, sometimes it’s easier to know something for sure – even if it’s bad news – than it is to wonder and speculate. Left to the uncertain, our finite minds spin and circle, landing only occasionally to check out one horrible scenario after another before again taking flight in the unknown.

So what can we do when we just don’t know? I understand, certainly, that my current situation with our cat is pretty small potatoes in relation to the troubles in the world today. The possibility of war looms over our country. Far too many people in our own neighborhoods just don’t know when their next meal will be, or if their job will survive this economy. We know of people facing medical tests, not knowing if they’ll reveal bad news or will deliver relief. Expectant parents await the birth of their baby, not knowing if the doctors are right in their speculations of his or her poor health.

There are so many things…so many situations…so many unknowns. There are so many possibilities awaiting the resolution that only time can deliver.

So what do we do when we just don’t know?

We trust wholeheartedly what we do know.


We do know that God is good.
We do know that He is in control of even the most uncontrollable scenarios.
We do know that He has a plan, and that all things will work together for good.
We do know that no matter what comes, He will be with us. Never leave. Never forsake.
We do know that He is bigger than impossibilities, and that He is unthreatened by our inability to see a solution.

Those things – and more – rest in the column of the knowns, and no matter how long the adjacent column of unknowns is, truth is far heavier than speculation. Certainty far outweighs the questions.

And so whether or not the cat comes home, and whether or not he is okay, and whether or not we find our country embroiled in another war or the economy doesn’t recover or the results come back as bad news, we rest in what we knew all along.

Those things are all we have, and in the end, they are all we need.

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