Sunday, August 9, 2020

Many years ago, something strange occurred in my neighborhood. 

A minivan parked on my street and a woman sat in the weeds, staring into the field.

I noticed her as I took the kids to the bus stop. 

I waved. 

She waved back and continued staring.

She was still there when I came home that afternoon.

The next day another lady parked her car on the street, sat in the weeds, and stared into the field. Curiosity overwhelmed me. 

“Excuse me,” I ventured. “What are you doing?” As the words left my lips, they seemed a little abrupt, but I live in a small neighborhood in the country. It isn’t everyday strangers park their car on my street and sit outside in the rain and weeds, staring into a field.

“I’m trying to rescue that dog,” she whispered, pointing.

I hadn’t noticed the dog.

In the middle of the field, a filthy mutt stood alone—his ears and nose raised as he peered above the tall grass. 

My kneejerk reaction was to climb through the barbed-wire fence and collect the dog so the lady could get on with her life. Two different women had spent two days waiting for the mutt to come to them. As a busy mom of three teenagers, I couldn’t imagine spending one day sitting in the weeds watching a dog, much less two.

Instead, I asked, “Is it your dog?”

“No.” The woman’s eyes didn’t leave the field.

“Whose dog is it?”

“We don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“The dog is timid and won’t allow anyone near. My friend rescues dogs, and we’re trying to gain his trust so we can give him a home.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. But this seemed a little over-the-top as dog rescues go.

The two women spent two full weeks sitting by the side of the road, staring into the field, waiting. I didn’t bother them—they didn’t want to be bothered. Their sole purpose was earning the trust of the dog. They had food, treats, and water. Sometimes I watched them from an upstairs window. The dog inched right next to them, eating from a dish of food. I saw them touch the dog and stroke his back. But even while they had hands on him, they didn’t force him into the car.

Honestly, I honored their patience but questioned their sanity. Who in their right mind would spend literally every hour of daylight for weeks on end to pursue a stray dog? Eventually, they all disappeared. I assumed the women succeeded.

I’d forgotten about the women and the dog until recently. They came to mind, and I chuckled about the seeming silliness of it. Then I heard a whisper… 

God offered His take on the situation.

“You know, that’s what I do too.”

My inner chuckling abruptly stopped. I pondered what He meant. God sits in the weeds and waits for us? 

Aaaah…yes, He does.

God waits for us to accept His gifts of love, grace, and forgiveness. He is kind. He does not grab us against our will. He is gentle and patient—offering exactly what we need, adoption into His family. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

God loves us—he doesn’t leave any of us alone in the field of our unbelief. He wants everyone to have the choice to come to Him—to be rescued—or not. He waits in the weeds, the rain, the wind, in the stench of our filth, guilt, and shame. Do you see Him? Do you hear Him calling your name?

About a week later, the dog reappeared in the field and the ladies to the side of the road. This time, they disappeared after a couple of days. Perhaps the dog was testing them. Do you really want me? Are you really who you say you are? Do you really care about my life? The ladies’ persistence proved their love.

God’s Word says, For the wages of sin is death—thankfully, it doesn’t end there.

But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

God proved His love when He sent His Son to die on a cross. He took the penalty for our sin, and all of our shame onto Himself.

On Easter morning, He conquered death and rose from the grave. 

Jesus offers us the gift of eternal life. All we have to do is accept it.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

We aren’t so different from that dog—we’ve all been a little lost, dirty, hungry, and skeptical. We all need to be rescued. This Easter, as we celebrate mostly alone, know that you are not alone. God is reaching His hand to you. The weeds may be tall, but we only have the length of our one precious life to trust Him. Will you?

May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:18)

 

 

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