Have you ever lost a dog? Our 3 year old dachshund, Dipstick, is a real adventurer. Throwing caution to the wind, she looks for every open door so that she can slip between our ankles and explore the neighborhood. Luckily, for us, she’s only been able to get out a few times.
I never knew how fast I could really move until she took off. In my messy pursuit, I’ve cleared bushes, squeezed through fences and plopped in puddles. Some would suggest that I just go home and wait. These experienced dog lovers recommend that I give her time to rely on her own instincts to find her way home. However, these people did not stay up with me for 48 hours after she swallowed a pinecone and needed surgery (but that’s another story).
Anyway, I worry that her insatiable desire to investigate will lead her into imminent danger. So, I step in. She doesn’t come willingly and squirms her caramel colored little self all over the place until I get a really strong hold.
And when I do, I don’t let her out of my sight.
It’s a good thing that God doesn’t work that way. After making us in His own image, He gives us free will. He allows us to choose Him or explore life on our own terms. He must get so flabbergasted watching us as we live through near misses and close calls.
Ever near, he doesn’t force us to go anywhere. He just makes Himself available. He sends us invitations in the form of friends and family. Sometimes, these folks are the only ones who know what we need to feel at home.
They accept us as we are and gently invite us to find a more meaningful way and a fuller life.
Maybe this Christmas, while my dog is in her crate, I can watch out for friends who feel a little exhausted from trying to do everything on their own. I’ll invite some of these weary travelers to my church home. With an open heart, I can help them feel warm and welcome. And if they come without my help, I can extend a hand to let them know how nice it is to see them again. With a prayer to God, I can help them just come home.
You know our hearts. So many of us feel lost and alone. Please help nudge our hearts this season to reach out to someone, to speak kind words and help us find our way back to you. Thank you for your amazing love. Amen