So my daughter took our dog Chili camping. He usually does really well, has a loads of fun and comes back exhausted. This time was different. He went off exploring, which is normal, but never returned. He was gone. And wasn’t wearing his dog tag. No amount of whistling or yelling helped. He was swallowed up by the 801 Sq. Miles of Pisgah National Forest. My wife and I were out of town, so we called in all of our resources. We had a friend who works at the local NBC channel tweet a plea for help to his masses; another friend posted her own reward for the dog; many other friends went out scouring. Amy and I were left 5 hours away overcome with worry, anxiety and prayer. Yes, we love our little dog.
The morning that Chili took off, literally at the exact time, Amy and I were listening to a Timothy Keller sermon on Prayer and Mediation (http://www.gospelinlife.com/how-we-live-as-believers-6324.html). He walked us through Psalm 1 and how, as our roots are dug deep into the river of the Gospel, we won’t be utterly dismayed when dark storms thrash around us. We won’t be like the chaff that has no roots and blows with the wind. Well, once again, call me chaff. I am well aware of my mood, faith and heart fluctuations. It’s annoying to me as well. But it also tutors me in the Gospel. As my heart-pendulum swings, it reminds me of how much I need Jesus, who is not only the example of my faith, and not only the object of my faith, but the power of my faith. I can’t do it on my own, so I keep requiring him to do it for me; keep reminding me that I truly am His and that he won’t let me go; that he has forgiven me for all my ugly sins, including my ugly faithlessness when I forget the depths of his love and care for me.
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
So, as it turns out, a couple of hikers stumbled upon Chili and had him join them on the rest of their long hike. When they returned to Asheville, they had him scanned for an implanted chip, which revealed who he belonged to! They brought him back home where he belongs. When I keep straying from my Father, He keeps bringing me back. Over and over. I have the Holy Spirit perfectly and permanently implanted in me, which not only reveals my identity, but has the power to bring me home.
“Here’s my heart, O take and Seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.