All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the lord laid on him the sins of us all. ~ Isaiah 53:6
Most everyone at some time or another has encountered a stray dog. Sometimes they can be dangerous. Most often, though, they are pitiable creatures. Malnourished, you can see the outline of their ribs beneath sagging skin. Sometimes mange has taken over and the diseased canine is quite a distant cousin to the beautiful dogs we see in Purina commercials on television. But you see, they’ve lost their way … strayed from their owners … and left to their own devices do not have the capacity to maintain themselves. But do you notice how a dog will bolt for an open door? Running to escape the one who feeds, bathes, pets, and loves them?
I don’t know much about sheep … but dogs do stray away. And I’ve strayed away. I’ve left God’s path to follow my own. Bolted right out the door at the first opportunity to go seek out that glorious world out there. The adrenalin kicks in. It’s all new and fun. The freedom of a life without restraint! For some of us it takes a while for the reality to set in… for others, it’s pretty soon that we realize that life away from the Master is not that great. Oh, there’s plenty of stuff to explore and do. But once you’ve run around the neighborhood and urinated at every mailbox what is there to do? It gets to be supper time and there’s no bowl of provision. Hunger and desperation set in. And how many of us have tried to feed that hunger in a hundred different unsuccessful ways?
The stunning message of Good Friday is that for all the ‘fun’ we’ve had running around without the loving care of our Master, we are allowed to come back home. While we were dreading coming home, thinking of the disappointment, anger, and mess we left behind … someone else was cleaning it up for us. The door is open because in the powerful move of grace, the Master assigned our mess to someone else and left us free to return without consequence. Not only that, the one who inherited our mess did it willingly because He loves us. And because He could bear it when we could not.
When you leave God’s path to follow your own way, it’s never a pretty sight. Strays are never beautiful once they’ve been out a while.
When you leave God’s path to follow your own way, don’t forget the way back. Because you can come home.
When you leave God’s path to follow your own way, be mindful that someone else is having to pay a terrible price for your mistake.
When you are tempted to leave God’s path to follow your own way, why don’t you take a moment and think about that. And decide to stay with Him. Just … stay.
Take four minutes and listen to this awesome song by Avalon called ‘Stay’.
Thanks for reading,