The Prodigal Dog

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Monday, December 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM


At first Dudley the faithful cocker spaniel and I were not the best of friends and I was ready to be gone with him. But over the last two years he has won me over; he sits by my desk while I type and he sits faithfully by me while I watch TV. He doesn’t destroy the house or bark all the time and if I could take care of that little problem about going outside at 3 in the morning he would be the perfect dog.

Dudley is a bit preoccupied with the cats outside, which is another thing I like but he like his master he has a tendency to OCD on some things. He will never go out the door unless there is a chance for a cat. At some point in that day after staring outside endlessly he received some kind of break and he escaped. By the time we found he was gone we had no idea where or how long he had been on the run.

So we did what all people who love their prodigal do; we went looking for him.

Evidently like most prodigal’s when he started off he just started to run. He had no real direction in mind he just wanted out, first perhaps to check out the cats but after that prize was gone he just ran. He had all he needed at home; loved, well taken care of and certainly there were people left behind who would miss him. He just saw the opening and did what prodigals do; he took off thinking freedom was far better than the security of the home. Like all prodigal’s he was wrong.

We dropped everything we had going on and started scouring the neighborhood. On foot, by car and bike everyone searched into the dark night for our wayward dog. We looked high and low searching for our dog on the loose; to no avail.

The worst thing about all of this is that when he went for his run he did not have his collar on that gave his address and phone number. He was ours; but no one knew it. For anyone who saw him he would be a stray dog belonging to no one. That is another trait of all prodigal’s; the way they behave, the places they find themselves in and the actions they take often lead to others not being able to identify who they really belong to and who really loves them.

Prodigals lose their identity because they run from who they really are. People who love prodigals don’t care they just want them home.

About eleven at night we started to close our disappointing search down. Kim and I went for one more drive and this time we took some signs for the neighborhood. It is against the rules to put up such signs in our HOA neighborhood but that did not matter to us. To the one who loves the prodigal it is more against the rules to simply let someone you love who is in danger and lost wander out in darkness. You do what it takes, then worry about the rules later.

People who love prodigals will do what it takes to get their lost one home.

The next day my four year old Gracie and I were first in line at the dog pound to make a missing dog report. We were greeted with the news that someone had just called in who had found a cocker spaniel the previous night. A few phone calls later and there was confirmation that indeed Dudley had been found.

There was a great reunion that evening when the boys put their arms, leash and collar around our once lost but now found dog. Like most prodigals he had gotten an amazingly long way from home in a short period of time and like most prodigals he was glad to see faces he knew and arms that loved him, the very arms that he had run from the day before.

Perhaps you like Dudley have run from those who love you. Perhaps you find yourself an amazingly long way off from what you know is right and from those you are certain that love you. Maybe you started running and now you find yourself tired and longing for the comforts of home. It might be pride that keeps you in the distant land; it might be an addiction picked up on the road or your worried about the consequences of your wrong choices. Maybe you think you are unlovable and God does not care. Think again!

There is a God who is looking for you, he is breaking every rule in the book to find you and wants nothing more than to bring you back into his arms. Go ahead turn your heart toward home; there you will find a God that has not rested one moment since you started running, who loves you no matter what choices you made and one that cannot wait for a great reunion with his prodigal.

Stop running; you will be surprised at who is looking for you and how much better home feels.

Scripture: Luke 15:20 “So he got up and went to this father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The prodigals welcome home, read all of Luke 15, good stuff.

Prayer: Dear Lord, for those of us who have run from your love we thank you that you never give up on us. For those who are currently running we pray they will grow tired and return home. We thank you that you love us and that will do whatever it takes to bring us home. We praise you for being such a wonderful Heavenly Father, we ask these things in the name of Christ. Amen.


all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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