A couple of weekends ago Mike and I spend a second weekend washing windows in our house. We have a lot of windows! While Mike was using the power washer to take the initial crud off the lower windows, he had the gate open because the hose was hooked up out back. I knew the gate was open, but forgot after several trips through the back door, and I inadvertently let Theo out.
Theo getting out of our fenced yard is a major concern for Mike and me. We live just off of Lexington Avenue and Theo, at barely two years old, is not smart about cars. So as soon as we realized he had gotten free we both went out to scour the neighborhood. Mike went first to the spot Theo usually visits in a neighbor’s yard, but he wasn’t there. I ran to Lexington and looked up and down the street but, to my relief he had not wandered into traffic.
I then began calling to him. I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea or not, since Theo loves to be out and about on his own and often runs away from us. I just wasn’t sure what else to do, so I sang out his name. That’s when Mike saw me and said, “Look behind you!” I turned to see Theo running down the side walk full tilt toward me. I quickly crossed the street to keep him from dashing across the street to get to me. Then I fell on my knees to catch him before he ran past me. I needn’t have worried. He ran right into my outstretched arms and buried his head in my lap. He was trembling and wanting comfort. It was clear to me that his adventure had frightened him. I suspect he looked up and realized he was lost, and so ran toward the sound of my voice as fast as he could go.
Given that we have been talking about the stories related to the Good Shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep, this moment touched me for days afterward. I wonder if we are sometimes unaware of just how lost we have become. Surely we have moments when we look up and wonder, “How did I get here and more importantly how do I get home?” I wonder too if God looks for us and wonders how we got so lost. Does God wonder if he should call our name or if we will simply run further away and try to hide?
I am confident however, the Lord comes in search of us when we go astray. He is determined to find us and to lead us safely home. Like the father of the prodigal son, God waits with open arms for us to return and breathes a sign of relief when we are safe.
Take a moment to think of those you know and love who are maybe a little lost. Whisper their names to the Lord. Maybe whisper your own name if it’s appropriate.
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