God's unfailing loveA couple of years ago, I went on a search to find the perfect little dog as a companion for my mom. It didn’t take long to find the one that fit all the criteria at an area rescue shelter – a darling little Yorkie mix named Sadie.

I kept her at my house for a couple of weeks until I could make the trip to my parents’ house for the delivery. About the second day, I decided to take Sadie into the front yard to potty to avoid the “curiosity” of our own two male dogs. I quickly discovered why she was at a rescue shelter.

Without the hindrance of a fence, Sadie was off and running immediately. She bolted out of the yard, across our street, around the corner, and towards the park in the next block. I chased her the best I could in my flip-flops screaming her name the entire time. Oh, and did I mention it was a cold and wet spring day?

Thankfully, a low area that drains into the small lake adjacent to the park stopped her progress. She ran into it at full speed and quickly discovered the water was deeper than expected. I was able to catch up to her before she could make her way out again.

The water hit me about mid-calf. It was cold and the muck underneath tried desperately to keep my shoes. But I managed to grab the runaway. I walked home holding a dripping, shivering dog at arm’s length, scolding her for trying to make a getaway.

My amused husband met me in the front yard with two towels – one towel for me and one for the dog. After I gave Sadie a thorough cleansing in a warm bath, I held her in my lap so we could “re-bond” after our experience. I wanted her to trust me and feel loved. (By the way, my mom absolutely loves this dog!)

When was the last time you ran away from God? We’ve all done it. We’ll all do it again. David had plenty of experience too. He knew what it felt like to be estranged from God because of his sin. And he also knew the power of God’s forgiveness and unfailing love.

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.  Psalm 32:1-5, 8-10

We all have the freedom to choose to turn away from God, to disobey Him. He does not control us without our consent. He does not force us to do His will like a rider forces a horse to turn to the right or left with a bit and bridle.

He does give us His commands for our good and ask us to follow Him, to stay close by His side. Unfortunately, like Sadie in the front yard, we all take off on our own from time to time.

But, praise God, we can trust Him with our failings. We can always find forgiveness when we turn back to Him. He will always be waiting for us to come back, ready to wrap us in His loving embrace.

Even in our sin, we are surrounded by God’s unfailing love. In love, He calls us to repentance. In love, He forgives and restores. In love, He protects and guides as we follow Him in obedience.

Have you strayed away from God recently? Do you need to repent and return to His loving embrace? Don’t wait another minute! As you listen to “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong, talk to your loving heavenly Father.

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