Yesterday my little puppy girl went missing. It’s quite a harrowing experience to come home and discover missing affection. We talked with all our neighbors, put up signs, and did a lot of praying. We said over and over to the Lord, “We know she is your creature. You know where she is. Please care for her, comfort her, keep her out of harm’s way, train her in this, and please please bring her home!”
All night I sat with my brow furrowed and staring off. My husband said, “You’re trying to spiritualize this, aren’t you?”
“Yes! What does God want us to learn from this? What? What? What????”
Nam wisely pointed out to me that I needed to chill out and remember that we live in a fallen world and crappy stuff happens, afterall. Yes, God will use this for us, but it doesn’t mean He made this happen. Oh….duh! In my obsession to figure it all out, I’d forgotten that pretty important part.
I woke up every hour of the night and prayed for my little Annie, and during one of those times, God’s love startled me: Jesus cares five million billion gazillion more times about one of us wandering astray than I do about Annie missing. I was willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find my girl – my heart was completely saturated with loving and missing her. God’s love, then, is unfathomable in it’s totality.
I am comforted to know that not only does our Savior love us so much more, but He’s much more capable of finding us! Unlike Annie, we aren’t running around the neighborhood – or even the world. It’s our hearts that run fast away.
King David aptly describes God’s abilities in Psalm 139
You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Annie’s time away probably started off as an adventure. When darkness and hunger came – or maybe it was busy cars speeding by – she was frightened, confused, lonely and desperate. And the more she searched for escape, the further she wandered from home. Sound familiar? Ever step out on the Lord for a quick walk on the wild side? Do you realize when you’ve slipped all the way down the slope, or does it take a pretty rude awakening? Ever tried to rescue yourself? Akin to quick sand, huh?
(side note: this is another reason I love the Lord. He gives us parameters ahead of time: don’t do this, don’t go there, equip yourselves this way. He prepares us for rough times but also warns us how to avoid putting ourselves into harm’s way. He’s not a fussy, busybody, old nag of a god. He’s a wise, loving father giving us a map to avoid the quick sand!)
Annie was returned to us this morning by a wonderful lady (a fellow gardener, so you know she’s great!). She was found wandering around Greek Row at UTA and she spent the night in the abandoned backyard next door to this gardener. I am sure she wanted to be found, and her response to coming home was pure joy. Her whole body shook with glee and it was a wonderful homecoming for all of us.
Do you want to be found by the Lord? What is your heart’s response when the Shepherd finds you and prods you home? That’s what David articulates at the end of his Psalm:
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
If you are lost, lonely, frightened, confused, desperate, dissatisfied, lacking, wanting, grieving, spiteful, hateful, bitter, or anything else – ask the Lord to find you. Ask Him for swift rescue. He will always come.
If you have not yet given your heart to Christ by telling Him you know you are less than perfect and you recognize that it was He who died on the cross for you to pay for that sin so you don’t have to, then now is the perfect time. He will come and get you while you are yet in your sin. He will take up residence in your heart and begin the transformation of changing you for eternity. He will find you for the first time and keep you close always. (more on this here)
If you are already one of the Lord’s children and you find yourself away from your Shepherd, turn back! Cry out! Our Father promises He will not let you go ever – even if it means putting you in the belly of a whale!
Annie is curled up fast asleep at my feet as I write this. She’s been bathed and her belly is full. She is found and loved, as am I.
Thank you, Jesus, for finding us always.