You need to know: is stepping in cat puke is part of God’s plan for your life?

You need to know: is stepping in cat puke is part of God’s plan for your life? September 13, 2023

"there's cat puke on my helmet" by ericlawrence is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
“there’s cat puke on my helmet” by ericlawrence is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

I’ve never forgotten the day a Christian friend posted this cat puke status on Facebook – and he was dead serious:

I woke up this morning and immediately stepped into cat puke.

And I said, “O Lord, what else do you have in store for me today?” 

As an evangelical (which I was for 50+ years), I would have asked God the same question. Obviously that cat puke was not there randomly. Its exact location was choreographed by God, somehow for my good (because “all things work together for good”).

Perhaps this little mound was placed in my path simply to remind me that I’m not in charge, or to make me thankful for the Quicker Picker-Upper. Maybe it was a metaphor for watching my step – something like Proverbs 4:26-27:

Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. 

The last thing that little mess could be was a casual, unpremeditated bit of cat puke, something my cat had haphazardly left right where I always step when I wake up.

Today, it’s hard for me to even imagine thinking this way. God has way more important issues than placing cat puke, or causing me to drop my car keys into an unreachable place, or making/allowing some jerk cut me off in traffic.

What happens to me and around me is the result of millions of micro-decisions I and everyone around me makes every minute, and a boatload of random events caused by gravity, centrifugal force, and the environment in my pet’s belly.

Is God choreographing cat puke like some kind of cosmic air traffic controller? ("Inside Heathrow Air Traffic Control Tower" by NATS - UK air traffic control is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)
Is God choreographing cat puke like some kind of cosmic air traffic controller? (“Inside Heathrow Air Traffic Control Tower” by NATS – UK air traffic control is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

Never mind all the billions of things that happen randomly that I don’t even notice – like when I don’t drop my keys, or all the steps I take every day without stepping in something gross, the thousands of cars that are driving in an orderly fashion, or when the coffee maker is working just fine.

Imagine God as a cosmic air traffic controller, constantly and single-handedly keeping almost eight billion planes from crashing into each other – but deliberately choosing/allowing a couple to collide each hour.

No, God is not focused on me, on making me a better version of myself through minute, trivial tests. I don’t know what God does all day, but I can no longer believe that his priority is to unrelentingly refine the rough edges of my life.

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Each morning when I wake up, it’s on me to make “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” To not make the day about me learning petty courage in the midst of my life’s petty troubles, but rather to continue the work of Jesus:

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21)

Questions to ask yourself about continuing the work of Jesus

Before we can continue Jesus’ work, we need an attitude check. Recall, Jesus never turned away anyone seeking help, healing, or food. Do we have a heart that loves with such abandon – or are we in the judgmental camp with the Pharisees? “Let them get healed next week,” “let them pay the debt before they are freed,” “that one is just too sinful.”

What is “good news” to the poor? Hope that they won’t have to live their whole lives rejected by the world, eating crumbs and trying not to get kicked around. Do I love the poor, just as they are, and desire better for them? Or do I look down on them as though they are responsible for the state they’re in?

“Freedom for the prisoners.” Do I cherish the women and men (and children) behind bars, or have I judged them to be beyond redemption? Do I have even the slightest idea about why they are there or what their lives could look like? (If not, I need to read [unsolicited] The New Jim Crow.)

“Recovery of sight for the blind.” Do I care about every human being enough to say that all of us deserve to receive medical care, regardless of our ability to pay? Or do I think of health care as a privilege only for those who have lived a respectable life?

“To set the oppressed free.” When I see (or just think about) someone who is burdened with addiction or mental illness or debt, what do I see? A child of God whose situation would make Jesus’ arms ache with love? Or someone who is probably reaping what he has sown, who needs to pull himself up from his bootstraps?

“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The Year of Jubilee – a time of community reset, when every slave is set free and the land and people rest and rejoice. This was Jesus’ vision for his ministry. Whatever enslaves us, whatever imprisons us, he wants to see us all released. Until we share in that passion for redemption, we have work to do on ourselves. Compassion-building work.


Just this morning, there was indeed cat puke on my husband’s shoe. He thought a minute and said, “he ate his supper really fast last night. That’s why he puked.” AMEN.

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About Kathryn Shihadah
I was raised as a conservative Christian, and was perfectly content to stay that way – until the day my stable, predictable world was rocked. A curtain was pulled back on conservative Christianity, and instead of ignoring the ugliness I saw, I confronted it. I began to ask questions I never thought I’d ask, and found answers I’d never expected. Old things began to fall away, and – behold! – the new me has come. What a gift to be a new, still-evolving creation. I found out that it’s better to look at the world through Progressive Lenses, with Grace-Colored Glasses.  You can read more about the author here.

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