Last month, I wrote about my new rescue dog Roxie and how she taught me about persistence in the midst of challenges. Roxie continues to teach me. This month, she reminded me about how important it is to know the voice of the one who is your provider.
A guest staying at my home was trying to be nice to Roxie by letting her out after I had left to go lead worship. What the guest didn't know was somehow the back gate had opened. When my guest went to let Roxie in before the guest left for church, Roxie was gone. My guest went searching for Roxie and found her hiding under a car in Trinity's parking lot. My guest did everything to try and coax Roxie out.
As I was driving up to Trinity, from serving at St. Michael, I wondered why my guest was kneeling by a car that was not hers. She shared the news with me. Roxie had gotten out, and she was under the car. At first, I wondered how I would be able to kneel on the pavement dressed in my white robe. My mind began to think of other options as well. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and I thought I would try the easiest thing first. I called her name.
Before I even got her whole name out, she came bounding out from underneath the car and jumped into my arms. What relief for both of us. She knew my voice. She knew who her protector was and where she was safe.
As I handed Roxie to my guest to take her back home, I thought about how, at times, I have been like Roxie. Sometimes, I have gotten away from my protector, Jesus Christ. Somehow the "back gate" was open, and it looked like there might be greener pastures away from my protector, so I ran. Once I was away from my protector, I realized I was in trouble and got scared. What then? I tried to find shelter.
All the time I was "out," I know Jesus was looking for me, calling to me to come back to safety and to come back home. Finally, at some point, I became smart enough to stop looking for a hiding place and listen, listen for my protector's voice and follow him home.
Roxie also reminded me there are many voices calling you to follow, but we need to follow the one we know loves us and will take care of us. The only certain one is Jesus Christ.
How about you, dear readers? Are there times when that "open gate" beckons you to exploration? Do you take the opportunity, or do you know you are where you need to be? For those of you, me included, who have taken the "open gate" and adventured away, know your protector -- Jesus Christ -- loves you and wants you home. He is out there looking for you, calling your name and inviting you home.
I hope you are smart like Roxie. I pray when you hear the voice of the one who loves you, the one who cares for you and the one who provides for you, you will know his voice and you will come running home. I know he is waiting to welcome you home, and like me when Roxie jumped in my arms, he will celebrate you are safe in his loving arms.
Blessings on your journey. May it lead you home to the one who calls you, and may you know his voice and follow.
The Rev. Lesley Radius is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Hays.