• Tami McCandlish

Combat the Warrior Cat

He could barely walk. With his hind legs tucked under his torso, he was literally and figuratively crossing a bridge in an area where people are known to dump pets.

When my sweet husband, Charlie, saw him, he pulled a U-turn and brought the kitty home.


Covered in mats and bone-thin, he looked like he had been through a war. He only weighed three pounds and was severely dehydrated.


We immediately knew we would nurse this wounded soldier back to health. We prayed over him in the name of Jehovah Rapha, God our Healer, and we named him Combat.


After I dropped him off at the vet the next day, worry invaded. The vet would perform a combo test for the most contagious diseases amongst cats. I despise these diseases.

We said goodbye to an orange feral friend only four months before because of one of these diseases. Losing him broke my heart, and I beat myself up for not working harder to trap him sooner.


Several times, while waiting for the results of combo tests, I have stressed myself to tears. So, when I got Combat tested, I had to keep my mind focused as I waited for the vet to call.


I headed to the grocery store, silently praying my way through the aisles.


At the exact moment I exited the store, thinking ugh this test, a man walked toward me wearing a t-shirt with an image I had seen before—the image of Baphomet, an icon associated with the church of Satan.


You’ve gotta be kidding me, I thought. I had enough time to study the shirt. No band name. Wasn’t a video game logo. Just straight satanic. What struck me most was that the man didn’t look like anyone I pictured wearing that kind of shirt.


"No," I said. "No." I slowed my cart to a stop, close enough to touch his wife, who he was talking to. They were oblivious to me. But I was fully aware that I was face-to-face with the spirit of fear, and it was time to combat.


“I rebuke you in the name of Jesus,” I said.


They didn’t flinch. I was sure they didn’t hear me. Should I have said it louder? Did I even do it right? What was I rebuking? The man? His shirt? Maybe it didn’t work.


God spoke in my mind, “Oh, they heard you.” Then I remembered demons have no answer for the name of Jesus.


Praying for the man, I headed home, where I awaited the vet’s phone call.


As storm clouds surrounded my house, I fought against worry. When the sun shined on the dark front, I jumped toward the window, sure I would see a rainbow. There wasn’t one.


A thought struck me:

Just because I don’t see something in the natural doesn’t mean it’s not there in the spiritual.


I circled my dining table, shouting with praise. “I see Your rainbow because Your rainbow is always there! In the name of Jesus, I rebuke worry and declare life over this kitty!”


Minutes later, the vet called to confirm Combat’s results were negative. She said we could do another test in a few months to reconfirm and blood work to look for more problems, but God called me to faith, and I said no.

Combat was ready to meet Itty-Bitty. They were an instant match. I was ready for his system to regulate, for his hack job of a haircut to grow into a flowing red mane, and for his weight to even out to a healthy eight pounds.


Weeks passed, and change was slow. I cringed every time I touched his protruding ribs and pelvis. What I saw before me threatened to pull my mind back into worry.


I wondered why God would bring me another orange kitty only to have things end the same way?


Did God send Combat to us simply so we could provide him comfort in his last days?


Every time a twinge of worry entered my mind, I countered, “NO” with the authority of the Lord. “I declare good health over this kitty in the name of Jesus.”


This is how I combat.


I put on the full armor of God because this battle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6).


It is an attack from the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” And he reminded me this through a guy wearing a hideous t-shirt walking into my grocery store.


But I refuse to enforce the enemy’s death sentence because Jesus came so that we could have life abundantly, and for me, that means living joyously with lots of cats (John 10:10).


So, I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, living by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7).


My weapon is the word of God. It "is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). The power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Therefore, I will only speak into this situation what the Bible says, and that is, “God perseveres both people and animals” (Psalm 36:6).


God didn’t send me Combat so I could watch another orange kitty die. He sent Combat to teach me how to rebuke fear, declare life, and fight with faith. And to remind others that no matter our circumstances, through Jesus, we have the authority to proclaim God’s promises and watch the enemy flee.

Combat has been with us for two months now. He's one-and-a-half pounds heavier, about ten years old, and only has three teeth. His whiskers are still whacky from malnourishment, and his fur is wiry as it grows back.


An outsider may see him as a pathetic mess, but I see him as a little companion of the Almighty Lion of Judah. And one day, he will roar.


Follow Combat’s comeback story on Instagram.











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