truthfully, I didn’t know what I was going to try and post about today. it’s been a very busy season for me and my helpers who help make this blog so possible, so it’s been easy for me to put the blog on the backburner a little bit lately. but, after last night, something was laid so heavily on my heart and knew I needed to share.
now, be warned I have always had such a weird knack for finding symbolism in some of the weirdest occurrences. but I am a firm believer that sometimes we need circumstances to help make things clear. I feel like for a lot of people, the thing that makes God so hard to comprehend or understand is that He feels like a big, invisible man up in the sky and often times we don’t know how to even begin to relate to Him – or even more, how someone that big or that powerful could actually care about us when we feel so little or irrelevant when it comes to the grand scheme of things. after all, doesn’t He have like, 7 BILLION other people on the planet to care about?
for a second, I want you to think about your dog (or whatever pet you may have). it might feel weird with where I’m going with this, I know lol but trust me!
dogs are wonderful. they’re compassionate, loving, loyal… and we love them even when they annoy us to no end. we can’t even verbally communicate with them and there are times it feels like it’s so much easier to have a bond with them than other people. and we know that they’re our responsibility – we are in charge of protecting them and giving them the best life possible.
so imagine my horror when I got home late last night from hanging out with a friend, only to see my (cheap + lightweight) apartment door swung wide open from the strong gusts of Oklahoma winds and realized Arlyn wasn’t inside. my heart dropped. he didn’t know any better – a door had opened and he seized the opportunity. I’m sure he was just tired of feeling cooped up inside four walls and wanted to go sniff + run around. but it was dark, he’s a dark color – what if he got hit by a car? what if he finally figured out how to wander farther away and got lost? how long had he been out, and how far could he have gotten? what if he was hurt somewhere and I can’t find him to comfort him and get him help?
I didn’t care about anything in my apartment potentially being gone due to easy access inside – the only thing I cared about was finding my dog. my heart was broken, knowing that there was no way to get him to come back to me unless he was in range enough to hear me calling for him. 10 minutes of sobbing and stress-induced stumbling around my apartment complex later, he ran in front of me across the side walk. naturally I ran straight to him and hugged him harder than I probably ever have before.
and the thing is, dogs are so naive and carefree. they don’t realize how much potential harm they pose when they do things like run off – to them it’s an adventure! they’re livin’ their best life! yolo! and we end up doing the same thing, it just doesn’t look like physically running away, per say. we get so caught up in what’s fun, what’s common, what we simply just want to do, that even if it feels more like walking, we still find ourselves moving away from God – all the while, He’s out there, calling for us to come home, trying to tell us He wants to keep us safe, that He wants to take care of us.
sometimes we can get a bitter taste in our mouths about how we think God sees us in the midst of our wandering + our grime, whether it’s because we choose to believe that there’s no way a perfect God could want anything to do with someone like us, or because we feel abandoned or betrayed by people who have left us in the dirt and assume He’ll do the same – that He’ll see us as a lost cause, that He’s just going to move onto someone else who has more potential to be His child.
I love the story of the Prodigal Son because it has the power to fill us with so much hope and to redefine how God sees us. If you are unfamiliar with the story, there’s a son who asks for his inheritance in advance because he wants to go live his life and party, basically. and his father pretty much says, “okay, if that’s what you want” and lets him go do his own thing without fighting him on it.
the son ends up spending everything he was given and struggled to make ends meet, or even find food. the son decides he’ll return to his father and work as a servant because surely he can’t be taken back as a son after the disgrace he felt like he became. BUT…
…while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. / / luke 15:20
to me, in order to see someone while they are still far away, you have to intentionally be looking for them… waiting, in anticipation. how incredible is it that this is how God is with us??? that even when He knows we are still wandering, we are still far away, He is actively looking for us + He is waiting to greet us with open arms and love, not condemnation and “how stupid can you be’s.” our God is a merciful God – and He will never be anything but merciful.
with Arlyn last night, I didn’t punish him for running away, for having the curious nature he has as a dog. I didn’t say, “too bad, he’s gotta fend for himself now.” no, as soon as I saw him, I was just thankful he was safe and sound, back in my arms. luckily it didn’t take me long to find him, but I would have stayed up all night to search far and wide for him + called in the search parties before giving up on looking for my puppy. if those are the lengths we go to for animals, how much more will God do for us?
Reckless Love is a wonderful song if you need encouragement as it reminds us that God would rather leave behind the 99 that have been with Him all along in order to track down + find the one who has wandered away to bring it back into His loving, protecting arms.
there’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up coming after me / there’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down coming after me
the truth is, I don’t know what each and every story is of those who are reading this post today – but I can speak from experience of knowing what it feels like to think “God couldn’t care less about me because of all the other disciplined people He has” or that “I’m too dirty and unworthy to come back,” but it’s these passages – these reminders – that will hopefully remind you that God sees you where you are and that not only is He calling + looking for you, he is fighting for you, even when He has 99 others.