It was a pretty nice day yesterday so I was only too happy to help walk the dogs. There’s a small wooded area not too far from our house where we can let the dogs off of their leads and give them the freedom to roam about a bit…providing they stay within sight. Yesterday, Ozzy (our smallest dog) just kept running…and running. Right out of sight, completely in the opposite direction that we were walking. I tried shouting furiously, speaking in a loud but gentle voice (not an easy feat) and everything else I could think of but Ozzy was gone. Thankfully, he returned and after shouting at him and muttering a few choice adjectives I put him back on the lead until we’d gotten back to where we were supposed to be.
Many of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 (if not, you can read it here). I couldn’t help but (loosely) compare yesterday’s dog walking situation to what I believe is one of the most powerful parables Jesus ever taught.
No, Ozzy wasn’t after half my estate. But he was distracted; focussed on something that took him completely away from his master. The reality is that Ozzy could have kept running. I certainly couldn’t have caught him. However, he chose to come back and show obedience. Was my reaction similar to the Father’s in the story? Not really. I shouted and chastised the dog and put tight restrictions on him until I could trust that he wasn’t going to run off again.
We run in a different direction to the one that God has planned for us so much of the time – whether in our relationships, our work or our worship (see yesterday’s post for more on that). But if we run back to Him, he doesn’t rebuke us; instead He embraces us with incomprehensible grace and love. He is abounding in his affections for us regardless of our behaviour.
I’m so grateful for that. Thank you Lord.