The signs were posted everywhere around town, and there were many posts on Facebook. My heart would sink each time I saw one, reminding me that he wasn't home with his family. He ran away from home on New Year's Eve, terrified of the fireworks. But he had a tag, and we all figured that within a few days, someone would find him and call. But the days ticked away, and although there were several leads, they all proved to be fruitless. The community support was great. People loaded up in their cars and drove around looking for him. Others carried a leash in their car in case they saw him as they went about town in their daily business. We prayed that he would be found. We felt for the family, because we knew their hearts were burdened for their lost dog. We felt for the dog, because we figured he was out there somewhere lost, alone, and scared, or even possibly injured in some way. And those signs! Those signs posted everywhere made me so sad! I just wanted him to be found, and taken back home where he belonged, with the people who loved him and missed him so much! He had been missing for fifteen days, and the oldest princess and I passed one of his signs. I told her that I could hardly stand it, it made me so sad. It was time for him to be found.
Late that same evening, I saw a notice on Facebook that he HAD been found! We were all very excited and we were comforted to know that he was safe at home where he belonged. The next day on Facebook one of our friends posted this picture of his sign at the post office…
A couple of days later my husband and I were talking about how glad we were that they had found their dog. My husband made an observation that cut to the quick of my heart, and has been rubbing my conscious raw since then. I do not remember his exact words, but my heart heard something like: Look at the lengths the community will go to, in order to find a lost dog. But when it comes to people who are lost and doomed to spending an eternity separated from God, the God who made them and loves them, we sit by and do nothing.
Wow. Guilty. I am guilty. For fifteen days, I worried about my friends and their lost dog, and prayed for the return of that dog more than I prayed for the lost people I know. Don't get me wrong. I prayed for the lost. There are certain people that I pray for by name, daily. But it has become more of a "daily ritual" for me. I think the difference is that in my heart, I really believed that my friend's pet would be found. But after years of praying for lost loved ones, maybe my faith has waned a little, or even in some cases, a lot that they will ever actually be saved. If I really believed that those loved ones would get saved, wouldn't I be more actively involved in seeing it happen? Wouldn't I be spreading the word that I have a lost loved one, and that I would give anything to see that lost loved one saved? Wouldn't I be praying for that person more than just once a day, at a particular time? Wouldn't I be using every means possible to spread the word to get people to help me do what it takes to see my lost loved one saved?
James 5:16 b "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
II Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God wants my lost loved one to be saved even more than I do. He is on my side. I must continue to pray faithfully, and fervently. I must continue to ask others to do the same. I must reach out in love as much as possible to that loved one. I must be the hands and feet of Jesus so that they may see His love for them through me. I must speak of His blessings constantly, so that they can see what a joy it is to live for Him. I must show grace and mercy, as He would show grace and mercy. But most important, I must not give up. I must continue to have faith that He will do what He says. I must keep things in perspective and remember that reaching the lost is the number one reason I am here.
I am very glad that our friends found their dog. I think it is wonderful. But I would be even more excited to hear about one of your lost loved ones coming to know the Lord as their personal Savior. Especially after you have prayed for them for years. I know it would make my heart rejoice, and it would be an encouragement to me and to others reading this blog that are still praying to see their lost loved ones saved. So if you have a story, please share it with the rest of us. Or, if you are praying for a lost loved one and would like the rest of us to pray with you, please share your story, and I promise to pray even more fervently for them than I prayed for this cute, cuddly little dog to find his way home.
I don't think I will ever look at a lost dog notice in the same way again.
Lord, please help us to realize how important it is to do everything we can to lead others to you!