Tears of frustration streamed down my son's face, and he flagged his hand toward the other side of the street. "Jasmine got away." He turned inside rubbing his leg and a little blue color spread across his cheek.
Didn't take much for me to figure out what happened. Jasmine, our two year old German shepherd had been looking for an opportunity to break out for the last couple of days. Even after a training session with my husband the day before, you could see that her 'down' was more of a 'ready-to-pounce' than a 'down'.
My exercise plan had been switched. Ensuring that my son and daughter (who also tried her hand at stopping the dog) were okay, I grabbed the leash, a baggie of chopped up wieners, and left on a walk to follow my dog through the streets.
I've learned after a great deal of experience not to chase, just follow, and if at all possible, try to herd her away from the busy streets. And to pray. Pray that someone will help me catch her, because I won't be able to get near her. Pray that she doesn't run in front of a vehicle and all the endless hassles that would create.
For Jasmine, it is all a game. She darts from yard to yard, says hello to all her doggy friends along the way, and chases a cat or two. She says hello to everyone she meets, but if they reach down for her collar, she takes flight. She will not be caught until she is good and ready.
After about a half hour of following and praying, I thought how much like us she is.
Sometimes we become bored with our lives. We become antsy for adventure, fun, excitement...even the forbidden kind. While those who have authority over us might be able to illicit some obedience from us, we look for the opportunity to slip passed their legs and out into what we think is freedom and fun.
We do this even to God. He warns us. He trains us, but we're in 'pounce' mode, eyes forever wandering to that door just past where He stands. Then when we think we have opportunity, we dart through the door and the chase begins.
But God follows. He waits for us to come back to Him. Yes, He sees us. He watches as we dash away from Him, thinking to ourselves that we'll have the time of our lives. He sees the car of trouble that just misses us. He knows the kind people who attempt to turn us from our wander-lust.
And we are fully aware that He is waiting for us to return to Him.
I never left Jasmine. I couldn't. Many people have told me, just let her go, she'll return on her own. But I can't do it. I worry about the harm that might come both to her and to anyone whose path she crosses. I've seen it happen. A man, trying to help, leaps at her. She escapes, leaving him with an injured shoulder. Cars breaking hard, swerving to avoid, and me cringing for fear an accident will happen. Then of course there is those obtuse characters who choose to swear at me for not having my dog under control. I suppose I deserve it.
When we run away from God, we do more than bring hurt to ourselves. We can hurt those who love us. Even as Jasmine hurt my son. We can hurt innocent bystanders, and we hurt God.
But God is so ever faithful and patient. He watches us and knows, and calls, and waits.
Toward the end of Jasmine's fun, she turned toward home. I began to simply walk, calling occasionally but for the most part just walking. At one point she came to my heel but after a few steps bolted away, not quite ready to be caught.
|Jasmine on the leash|
Jasmine hasn't been hurt yet, but I fear someday she will. There is good reason why we don't allow her to roam freely like she desires. For her safety as well as others we keep her in the house, the yard, or on the leash.
There is good reason why God gives us instructions on how to live wisely in His Word. He knows the trouble we can get into if we do whatever we desire. Maybe we can get out from under His care and have a good time and not get hurt, but the risk is there. Wisdom tells us it is better to obey His Word.
"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man,..." Proverbs 2:10-12a