I have this black lab named Rufus. He is 100 pounds of sweet, lovable, slobbery dog. If you have food he is your best friend. If you aren’t careful, in his excitement he may grab a finger with the treat you hold for him. I love him and he also makes me crazy.
Rufus likes to take unsupervised “walk-abouts” around our farm and into the neighboring fields. He will be gone for hours, sometimes overnight. You can call and call, telling him you have food or a treat and he just doesn’t come.
Eventually he will show up, wet, covered in mud, ticks, and who knows what. So I will clean him up, pull all the ticks and whatever else off of him and make sure he is fed, watered, and given a treat for being still while I checked him for the ticks and burrs.
This week he went on another walk about. I thought I had blocked all the places in the fence where he might get out, but apparently I missed one.
So I called. I whistled. I said I had food and a treat. Nothing. Not a rustle in the tall grasses, not a flick of his black tail. Nothing. So I called some more. And whistled so more. For over fifteen minutes I called to the dog. Nothing.
I thought maybe he was just taking his time ambling back to the house, so I waited. Nothing.
So I got in the truck and drove down and our lane, calling his name and whistling for him. Watching closely by the creek in case he went to cool off. Nope. No sign of him. I went down the other end of our lane and around the corner to the other place he likes to go. Same thing. Nothing. No response. No sign.
As I turned back home, praying for this irritating dog to come back, I heard a whisper, “It’s just like you. I give you food, water, shelter from the elements, love, attention, and a safe place to be- and yet, you wander off- outside the safe boundaries I have placed for your protection. So I call, I say your name again and again. I call to you some more. Yet you remain hidden. I go out searching for you, inviting you back home where it’s safe. Where you are loved, but you still don’t respond. Maybe you will eventually return, but maybe you won’t.”
I thought about Rufus and how he would come back full of yuck and needing to be cleaned up again. “Oh, Lord, I am just like that dog. After a while I realize that I need you and all you offer me. So I come back, head down, exhausted from my walk about and you lovingly clean me, pulling off all of the things that have attached themselves to me while I was gone from your care. You feed me, shelter me, and remind me that I am your precious child.”
“Yes, I do. Because you are.”
Dear Ones, what about you? Are you taking walk-abouts or are you remembering to remain in the shelter of your Heavenly Father? Answer His call. He is waiting for you.