This past week, we lost our cat Smokes. Smokes started meowing outside of the barn one morning and never left. I am not exactly sure where he came from, but I know God wanted to bless us with this special cat.

I always called him my baby boy because he didn’t really mind being held just like a baby. Just about anyone could pick him up and hold him while he would just purr as loudly as possible. He soaked up every ounce of affection you gave him—and every ounce of food. He had a special purr that he reserved for the foods he particularly liked, like hot dogs and leftover pork roast and cheese. One night, he even saved us from a rattlesnake that was right outside our home.

When I found out he died, I was very sad. I already missed seeing him sunbathe outside our home, waiting for us to give him his seventh meal for the day. I was angry at the animal that took his life before he had a chance to fight. And I wanted to know why God would take my baby boy away. I’m still not sure of the answer, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says,

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

I’m not exactly sure what causes the seasons to change, but I do know this: God controls the seasons. And he is a good God. No matter what pain a certain season may bring, God has a good plan for it. God promises in Romans 8:18 “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” That Scripture gives me the strength to embrace the pain I feel in this moment and the trust that everything in my life fits into God’s purpose.

When I think about Smokes now, I am still very sad. And that is okay. Sometimes, I need to cry about it. And that’s okay too. I also try to smile and remember all the good things about Smokes and all the good things about my God who gave him to us. I want to encourage anyone going through a difficult season in life to look up. God is there for you. He wants to comfort you and guide you through this season.

— Written by Erin