Follow the Leader

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by Tracy Cooper

How many times did you play “Follow the Leader” when you were a child? Probably too many to count. One person got to be the leader, everybody else had to be the followers. If the leader walked like a duck, everybody walked like a duck. If the leader hopped like a bunny, everybody hopped like a bunny. You get the picture.

The other day, my friend Deb and I were out walking in the early morning. We took the same 3.5 mile loop that we have walked for years. The final leg goes through the woods down to the James River. As we were walking along the path, we were surprised to hear a “meow”.

We have seen squirrels, deer, chipmunks, skunks and other wildlife in the past, but never a cat in the woods. As we stopped to see where the sound was coming from, a tiny black fluffy kitten came running over to us. He could not have been more than a few weeks old. He was not shy at all. I bent over to pet the kitten only to see another little guy peek out from under the same tree. He would not come near us though.

Not sure what to do with these two kittens (neither of us are cat people), we continued or tried to continue walking. We figured we would call animal control when we got home. The little black kitten had a different idea. He was not going to wait around for his mom to come back and decided to follow us. Hopping along side of us weaving in and out of our legs.

Because we were tripping over him, we stopped. As we did, we heard another “meow”. Much to our surprise an entire litter was there. Eight more kittens came out from under the brush. We were surrounded.

Once the black kitten was back with all of his siblings, he stopped following us. Maybe the others convinced him he should be waiting for mama cat to return.

When I got home, I looked up information on “what to do when you find kittens in the wild”. The very first answer was to leave them be. There was a good chance the mother cat was only gone for a short time and would be returning.

This made me think of how often we play a game of Follow the Leader as adults. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are always following something or someone. Is it God we are following? Something else? Someone else?

Have you ever asked God for anything? Intervention in a situation, healing, direction. You pray about it, ask for direction, and wait. But when you think you’ve waited long enough and he hasn’t answered, you decide to take matters into your own hands.

I felt like that is what that kitten was doing the other day. His mama had left the home and he was tired of waiting. So he was ready to follow the first thing that came along.

We all know God can answer in various ways. The resounding YES! The devastating NO. Or even the “wait”. It is during the times of waiting that some of us find it hard to believe God is going to answer us. We take off following something, anything in desperation.

We follow our greed, putting ourselves into debt. We follow our pride, destroying relationships with friends and family. We follow the culture, justifying things we know aren’t right. Whatever it is that we choose to follow, we still come up empty. 

In Galatians 5:17, Paul reminds us, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

If we choose to follow God and wait patiently for His answer, we will have the blessing of walking through every situation with the comfort and peace of knowing that God keeps his promises.

Who will you choose to follow today?

Side Note: As I wrote the rough draft of this blog, I couldn’t quite get it to flow. I decided not to work on it any more and to discard it. The very next morning when I sat down for my quiet time, I opened my devotional book. The title of that very day’s devotion was “Follow the Leader”. I knew then that I was to finish this blog post.