I was a young puppy Mom, and Bailey and Bear were my sweet, scrappy baby boys. They were fearless, but only because they were also clueless. They could sniff out a door open for adventure, faster than I could grab my shoes.
Bailey and Bear were happy at home, let me tell you. Spoiled rotten actually. It wasn’t that they wanted to leave our home, but they were made for the hunt. They loved to make us happy, but they also lived to chase after squirrels and birds and other puppy dog friends.
They were prone to wander beyond the walls of our home, beyond the confines of our fenced backyard.
It stressed me out to no end. I felt like a crazy woman. But when they ran? I ran after them. Because they were my babies. And while I believed they were the most adorable dogs ever made, I also knew their brains were small. Their hunting instinct and tunnel vision overpowered their intelligence, and I wasn’t going to let them get hurt. I wasn’t going to lose them.
It reminds me of the ways I also wander, and how the Lord comes after me.
“I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.” Psalm 119:176 (NIV)
In this psalm, King David confesses to wandering off from the Lord like a lost sheep. He asks the Lord to chase after him. When he said “I have not forgotten your commands,” he recognized the Lord as His Shepherd. He was saying, I’m committed to you, Lord. I am your sheep. I have not forgotten your Word.
Still, he had strayed.
He was prone to wander, like sheep. Like my tiny puppy dogs. But more often, like me.
Here’s what amazes me about David’s confession. It’s the last verse–#176–of a long chapter filled with firm declarations of love for the Word of God.
It comes after commitment to God’s Word and the resolution to follow it.
Even then, David concluded—Lord, I’m lost again. I can’t fix this myself. I need you to come and restore me.
This is something I understand. For all my commitment to the Lord, one of my most common prayers (out of necessity) is this: Lord, Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
In Romans 7:21, Paul explains this battle we face between the controlling nature of sin and our desire to stay near God. “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” But that’s not the end of Paul’s teaching. Sin is deceitful, but we hope in the One who delivers us–Jesus Christ our Lord.
When we run away, Jesus runs after us.
Even as sheep of the Good Shepherd, as those who belong to the Lord, we sometimes wander away. We all get lost sometimes.
We need the Shepherd to help us find our way back home.
What does it look like when you wander away from the Lord?
Does your mind become consumed with worry over circumstances you cannot control?
Is your heart buried in fear of the unknown?
Are you distracted and preoccupied? Have you lost your desire to worship Him?
Are you entangled in a secret sin, feeling like it’s no big deal? Or like there’s no way out?
I don’t know where your heart is today, but in some way, I’ve been there. I want to encourage you to run back to the Lord.
God seeks us in and through His Word, and He loves us enough to come after us.
Will you ask Him to seek you? Will you allow Him to reach your heart through His Word?
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:7