There are two types of people on the rural road where we live. There are those who keep their dogs on a tight leash, and those who don’t. I have to admit our two canines are free runners. It’s one of the reasons we like living outside of the city. While an unleashed life comes with great risk, it also comes with incredible reward.
Our dogs love to chase squirrels, romp through the woods, go creek walking or doggie paddle across the pool. They have known and experienced the dangers of getting too close to the cars and have come running back home for help.
God gives us complete freedom…so much freedom, in fact, we are free to walk away from Him…free to go it alone…free to find what is out there in the world that might bring us more happiness than Him.
When our three-legged white terrier Zadie is headed up to the neighbor’s house for a little extra loving, or our black and white Border collie, Liberty, is bounding across the road after a squirrel, all our attempts to call them back fall on deaf ears.
We’re more like them than we might care to comprehend. How many times does the Spirit of God call us back? How long does He wait for us to decide, even without a leash, that we would rather return to his presence than ever go it alone?
Robert Robinson knew what it was like to be alone. He lost his father when he was only five years old and was later disinherited by his wealthy grandfather. Robert desperately desired to find his peace in the presence of Almighty God. But in 1757, at 22-years-old, he penned the words,“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” It’s true, even the mighty men and women of God, down through the ages, have been prone to wander.
I wandered away for a while, just a couple of weeks ago. I was distracted by something that held worldly promise. I tossed up a prayer, but when God didn’t respond on my timetable, I took my eyes off Him, and looked around me. There’s always another way if you look for one. And there’s always a way out if you change your mind. I turned back. It wasn’t really because I necessarily wanted to; our minds and bodies rarely want to do what is good for us. I turned back because I had to…I needed to…I would have been crazy not to.
And just as I open the front and back doors a dozen times every day to let the dogs back in, God was there waiting for me to return to Him. Sometimes Zadie and Liberty are wet and muddy or covered in cockleburs but I let them back in anyway. We clean them up and allow them to climb in our laps, on the couch or even on the beds. We do it because we love them. We can’t make them love us in return and we wouldn’t want to, but they do. They love us. They trust us. They need us.
God knows we need our freedom. He knows we are going to go out and get dirty. He loves us anyway. He’s not going to force us to love Him in return. What kind of love would that be? But when we do discover that we can’t do life without Him, He is always there waiting when we turn back and head home.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out
so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
My father-in-law spent almost all his life in service to the Lord. He used to tell the story of watching 4-H animal competitions. He said the kids would bring their prized pigs to the fairgrounds, bathe them to perfection, and adorn them with ribbons. But if one of the pigs got away, even for a moment, it would head straight to the nearest mud hole and roll in it. He said they did it because it was their nature…just as it is in our human nature to sin. But God is a God of forgiveness and He will always take us in and clean us up again.
Are you prone to wander?
What are the things that cause you to take your eyes off God?
How long will you wait on God before you look for your own solution?
Would you rather do life on a leash or have a life of freedom?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”
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