For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. Ezekiel 34:11, 16a (NLT)
Yesterday, Doctor went on the lam. Doctor is my son's dog. He is his pride and joy. The jury is still out on how exactly he got out. He tends to try to follow you outside and if you aren't careful, you don't see him sneaking past you. And he has, in the past, jumped the fence in the back yard. Once he's out, he goes on a walk about exploring his new found territory. Either way, I was dog sitting and when my son came to pick him up, we couldn't find him. Did I mention I had taken his dog collar off earlier in the morning and didn't put it back on? UGH!
Panic hit as we realized he wasn't anywhere in the house or in the back yard. Immediately, we ran outside and started yelling his name; screaming at the top of our lungs. Then, we each jumped in a car and took off in different directions searching for him. We went to places we thought he might go. We went to the neighborhood where he was found before when the wind blew the gate open. We went to the park where my son takes him to play. DOOOOCCCCTTOOORRRR! We called and called. No luck.
I went on line to the animal shelter and filed a Lost Dog report and my son kept looking. Then, we posted flyers all over the neighborhood hoping someone would spot him and call. The anguish we felt was horrible. We just wanted him to come back home and be safe.
Made me think of God and how he comes looking for us when we go 'on the lam.' We see something outside of our God comfort zone and go for it. We walk a little too far and then get lost. And like my son and I looking for Doctor, God comes looking for us. He calls our name over and over again trying to get us to hear him and come home. He comes to our favorite places. He sends people and circumstances (much like posting flyers) to let us know he's interested and he's looking for us. He is hoping against hope that we hear him and wander back to the place we know.
Someone found Doctor and turned him into the Animal Shelter. They notified my son that they had him and he could pick him up today. We were praising God that he was safe and would be home soon. And when Doctor gets home, he is going to get lots of treats and loving.
God does that too. When we come home, he throws a party. He showers us with love. Lots of celebrating when one of his kids is found....safe and home again.
Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent. Luke 15:6-7 (GNT)