Luke 15:4-7 – What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (ESV)
Before I went in to work the other day, I went for a walk up on top of the Cotswolds, near where I live. Being un-predisposed to walking up the hill in the first place, I drove to the car park.
In the car park was an older man who sat on the floor of an open hatchback, looking despondent. He could see that I was just up for a walk, and asked me to look out for his dog that had gone missing. It was a mongrel that liked chasing the many rabbits that have their warrens up on the hillside. Apparently, it liked chasing rabbits so much that the little darling had just gone off on its own. On previous occasions when it had happened, the man had waited two hours for the dog to return in its own time!
After my walk, and having looked myself in the interim, I found the man still awaiting the dog's return. By now, he had reinforcements to go off with him to see what they could do to unearth the mystery of the dog's departure from the track where he had been.
The scene reminded me of the patience, and perhaps exasperation, that God must feel for us when we go off on one of our little excursions to somewhere outside His will.
Of course, He is not fazed by our going missing, because He knows exactly where we are, but that does not mean that He has to like it!
I expect that the dog got back okay, but who knows what hidden dangers there are up there? There are holes and wire fences to get stuck in, not to mention the cliff edge. I wonder what happened.
It made me ponder where we are. Are we walking alongside the Master, or are we off on some spree?
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You are not fazed by our little trips off — in our mind, or even in the real world. We rejoice that You are always there to set us free, if we have the wit and will to avail ourselves of Your love. We say to you "Woof," meaning, "Look, remember me? I am back." As we praise Your goodness to us through Your grace, dwell with us today. Amen.