Snoopy was such a wonderful dog. He had a penchant for getting into trouble, and yet, I could never blame him. He just did what came naturally! For example, he would dig underneath my chain link fence in the back yard. I knew when I let him out, he would wait until I was not looking, then go to work. Dig, dig dig! He should have worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, or been a professional thief, perhaps. Once he got a hole big enough, it was squeeze, squeeze squeeze and OUT he would bound for freedom! Yes! The capability and culpability of running around the neighborhood, free, tongue hanging out slackjawed from his mouth as he ran and ran. Mikey would alert me because she refused to participate in Snoopy's illegal and nefarious deeds. She would begin whining and groaning and throwing a fit after she was left behind.
Out I would go to look for him. Usually he could be found in one of the neighboring yards, but I always worried he would get himself into trouble, or worse. Bells Ferry Road was out behind my house, past the woods, and cars there drove fast. It is not quite a highway, but 40-45 mph is common.
One day, Snoopy got out and I could not find him. I called and called but he did not answer. So I made sure Mikey was safe inside the house, and then hopped into the truck. "SNOOOOPYYYY!" I called out as I drove down streets in our neighborhood, my eyes and ears open for any sign of him. He was nowhere to be found. I was worried and prayed for his safety. I loved him very much and was very concerned.
I decided to drive out to Bells Ferry Road and as I came to the intersection, I saw a flash of white fur by the sign to the neighboring subdivision across the road. I waited for a space to open in traffic and pulled out, then into the road caddy corner across the street. I parked and hopped out of the truck with the leash I had brought along, but Snoopy did not try to run away. Instead he rolled over on his back and smiled at me and wagged his tail, swishing the pine needles furiously underneath him as he panted. What a glorious reunion! I hugged him and let him kiss me, then we put the leash on, and he hopped into the cab of the truck.
You might wonder if there is a reason I relate this story. You see, many years ago, Jesus told a story very similar to this one. Jesus was eating with people that the religious leaders looked down upon, tax collectors and sinners. After receiving criticism from them, he told them this parable, from Luke 15: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
As I mentioned in my previous article about the Lord's Prayer, we all do what comes naturally, even when it may result in serious consequences. But Jesus is the good shepherd. We need spiritual insight to discern dangers we cannot see or understand. How much more is the love of God in Christ compared to our own earthly, faulty love! I can hardly believe it, but it's true.
So we come to you, Lord. Let us love you even as Snoopy loved me, with a pure heart. I love you!