Bringing the Lost Soul Home

bringing the lost home

My first baby is a runner.

She doesn’t wear human skin or have opposing thumbs, but she’s a member of our family all the same. She’s a four-legged ball of mischief who looks like a cross between a Rottweiler and a Beagle. Her name is Zoe.

There are a hundreds of things which can beckon our mutt to the woods covering the mountaintop we call home, and most of them run on four legs too. She smells their scent, follows their trails, and despite the comfort of a warm house and a full bowl of food, she’s on the move before I can give my best whistle.

A couple of nights ago, I thought she was gone for good. Visions of coyotes and bears who call this mountain their home filled my head, and I was certain my runner had met her match.

When a watchful neighbor returned her to our doorstep, I collapsed onto her chilled, tail-wagging frame. I wanted to chide her and rebuke her for the worry and sleeplessness she’d caused, but all I could do was hug her and run my hands through her soft fur.

It wasn’t the rebuke that kept her here all these years. It was the kindness.

As I sat there, marveling at the sight of the dog I’d near given up as dead, I thought of certain family members and friends who, like my sweet Zoe, are runners. They run to escape hurt and pain that’s never healed. They run because they think God’s given up on them.

And deep down I know it’s not judgment which will bring them back, but love. Though we must speak the truth, we can do so without condemning those who are not ours to condemn.

I think about my own seasons of running and what brought me back to the feet of Jesus. It wasn’t finger pointing or raised eyebrows. It wasn’t a long list of rules or a tally of all the ones I’d broken.

It was grace. Undeserved, relentless grace.

God’s conviction may keep my path straight, but his grace keeps me in love.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:4 NIV

 Does God correct those he loves? Absolutely. But the often clichéd phrase, “It hurts me more than it hurts you,” didn’t become cliché overnight, and it’s sentiment needs to be at the heart of all correction.

It takes a Spirit in tune with the Most High to walk the fine line between grace and truth. And the only way to walk it is time spent with Him, moment by moment, day by day.

May all of the runners who keep us up nights be drawn to the grace and love which saved us from ourselves.

May we be living beacons of light beckoning even the most lost souls home.

 

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday, #CoffeeForYourHeart

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21 thoughts on “Bringing the Lost Soul Home

  1. Abby,
    Beautiful post…my heart pauses on the last line that talks about me being a beacon of love and light that welcomes even the most lost souls home. I think about my son, and though I could wag my finger a lot, instead I need to, like the father of the prodigal, wave my arms in delight and love when he does return home. Trusting that love will bring him home…thank you for encouragement for my soul this am.
    Blessings,
    Bev

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  2. Abby- What a great post! You words gripped my from the beginning and I was collapsing in relief into her tail-wagging frame with you. I’ve been in and out of seasons of my own running and you are so right here: “And deep down I know it’s not judgment which will bring them back, but love. ” Love transforms people. Love will bring us home. Thanks for sharing this, friend, and keep writing!

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  3. Dear Abby, I ran for 40 some odd years. God didn’t love me, how could He, I couldn’t get it right no matter how I tried! 40 years running and believing I was not worthy to be loved by Him and no one else for that matter. I didn’t love myself. 40 years. And then, I heard Him call my name one morning, after I decided I will give Him one more try, I went to church. He called me back. His love for me brought me back. Has it been an easy road, nope, has it been worth it, more than words can say. Have I arrived, of course not, but I am on my way. I seek His face, I read His word, I talked to Him on a regular basis, He is my father, cousellor, husband, and friend. There is nothing like being in His presence. I will never be the same. Thank you Abby for your posts.

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    • Betty, thank you for sharing some of your testimony with me. I am always fascinated by how others turned to the Lord after years of running. His grace never ceases to amaze me and thrill me. I always love hearing from you, friend. Happy New Year!

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  4. So glad you found that dog! Yes, I’m with you here, Abby. Let’s live as lights, beacons for those who are lost. May the Lord give us strength and power to keep loving well. We so easily forget the grace we’ve received, but that’s the first step to passing it on.

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  5. Abby,
    As I read your post, my heart is heavy for my youngest brother to know Christ like I do. He was raised in a Christian home. However,I know he looked up to me growing up and saw me running away constantly. It is my prayer that I will become a beacon for him and He will desire to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
    By the way, I am glad Zoe was returned home safely. Blessings to you and yours in 2016!

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  6. Nice post. I’m going through Kay Arthur’s Lord I Need Grace to Make it Today to start the year. This resonates with my reading! Check it out if you haven’t already. –Monika

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  7. Abby, It was so good to visit you here again today! This post was absolutely breathtaking. Such eloquence and heart conveying such TRUTH. It is love that beckons us back. Amen! Thank you so much for being such a blessing to me today!
    Happy New Year, my friend!
    Lori

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  8. Beautiful post, friend. It’s so true…judgement and the fear of it so often keep people running away from God, when He longs for them to run toward Him. My heart echoes yours – to be the safe place where people can return and find grace. He is a God of second, third, and more chances. Might we follow that example. Love your heart and words. xo

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  9. So perfect, Abby. My initial reaction is always to rebuke, when I want me first response to be love and grace. A needed reminder – thank you, thank you!

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  10. So very true, Abby. I was a “runner” for 20 odd years and it was the opening of my eyes and heart to His Love for me that brought me Home. I spent those years away from Him thinking I wasn’t good enough and could never be, terrified of His wrath. Others were “good enough” and so I prayed for them, but not myself. God used a diagnosis and treatment for PTSD to help show me what lay at the root of this fear and is helping me overcome it in the power of His Spirit and Word. It’s amazing how things from childhood can cripple us.

    Thank you for reminding us all to refrain from judgement and speak the truth in love.

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