Yesterday on a brisk, windy, sunny day we took our dog Allie to the beach. This is always a very special, joyous day for her. She is a Siberian Husky. When you own a husky you're told to never let them off their leash. They have a natural inborn instinct to run. Over the years we have slowly trained her. On our beach visits we let her off the leash. She runs a little ways, jumping, sniffing and playing and then always stops, looks back and waits for us to catch up to her.
This particular day seemed no different than others before it. We strolled along the white, long stretch of sand. The chill of the wind was stinging our faces, as Allie frolicked in the water, chasing dogs and birds. Allie stopped and waited every so often just as she had been trained.
The sun was lowering behind a low patch of fluffy, cotton white clouds, signaling an end to our day. Approaching the part of the beach that we attach Allie to her leash, she abruptly turned and began running the opposite direction. We cried out, "Allie, Allie...STOP, come back here!" She continued to run, farther and farther. Our cries soon becoming muffled, lost in the pounding crash of the waves, beating against the sand.
We continued to walk in the direction she was running. We were certain she would eventually stop, look back and dash towards us. She began to appear as though she was a mirage, to far away to tell if it was really her. I began to run, worried that she might scale the steep cliff and run into the heavy, rush hour traffic on Pacific Coast Highway.
She had slowed down, but was still very far ahead. She now started to approach the few people on the beach, a woman at first, and then a couple. Each time she would walk away. She appeared to realize that she was lost. Walking away from the couple, with no one else around, she stood alone in the middle of the beach, a long isolated view in front of her. I began to get closer as she stood in one place. Her head was faced up towards the orange, red & yellow sky of the setting sun. She was howling, loud piercing cries, crying out because she was scared and lost. She had gone too far and now realized her mistake.
Out of breath, I started to walk, passing a couple that was staring at Allie. The wife looked at me with large, concerned eyes, "Oh, she's crying...she thinks she's lost." Finally close enough for her to hear me I shouted, "Allie, come here, I'm right here!" She quickly stopped her howl, snapped her head down, stared frozen for a moment and sprinted towards me. Her eyes squinting through the blowing wind, tongue hanging out of her mouth, tail wagging, and wait a minute...is that a smile? Can dogs smile? It sure looked like it to me. Reaching me, she jumped up on me and kissed me.
This story sadly represents our walk with the Lord. We are safely beside him, protected, loved and happy. All of a sudden something catches our attention. It looks fun, challenging, exciting...our mind starts to run. Next our body begins to chase after it also. We are going full speed in the wrong direction. Getting caught up in the moment, enjoying our fleshly, worldly desires.
The Lord is calling us to come back. He wants to protect us. We have gotten too far away. We no longer hear his cries. They are drowned out by the loud crashing waves of this world. Pride, vanity, money, pornography, sex, drugs and alcohol...we are trapped in the middle of their false allure.
Never finding the happiness we had hoped for, our life begins to fall apart around us. We stand alone on the long, lonely, isolated stretch of sand. Crying, calling out to the Lord, "Where are you Heavenly Father? I need you. I'm so scared and alone. Please come and help me."
He is there running behind you, trying to catch up and bring you home. Calling you home to the safety of his loving and forgiving protection. Just call out to him, he will hear you. You are never out of his sight. He is waiting for you to stop running. Just like huskies, we have a natural instinct to run after the things of this world. These things only give us fleeting, momentary pleasure. Followed by our guilt, unhappiness and self-loathing. Stop running and look to the Lord for peace, shelter, comfort, love and complete happiness. He is waiting for you.
"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest of silver for you. Surely you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fullfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. When men are brought low and you say, "Lift them up!" then he will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, through the cleanness of your hands."