When Love Comes Home

By Sheila Walsh Published on March 27, 2015

SHEILA WALSH — In 2011 devastating tornadoes blew through Alabama — leveling everything in their path. The pictures that emerged in the news the following day told the story of unimaginable loss and heartache. As the days passed, the tragedy was given a  human face as family stories were told. Many talked of miraculous survival despite the loss of all they possessed. But as a passionate dog lover, one story in particular moved me deeply.

When the tornado sirens began to blare a man grabbed his wife and two children and led them out of their house and into a tornado shelter in their back yard. As he began to close the door his daughter begged him to wait for just one more minute while she whistled for their dog, Mason, but there was no time left. When the all-clear siren sounded, the family emerged to a scene hard to imagine. Their house was gone. Most of the structure had been picked up, moved and folded, as if it were a doll house. All that remained of the original structure was the three stone steps leading up to what used to be the front door.

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Mason – Alabama tornado survivor

The little girl and her family searched through the wreckage looking for any sign of their beloved Mason, but he was nowhere to be found. The family stayed with friends in a nearby town until they could begin to put their lives back together. The father tried to help his daughter understand that there was no way a little dog could survive such a devastating storm. She was not convinced. Every day after school the girl begged her dad to take her by the wreckage of their home. Her reasoning was simple: if Mason still lived he would do whatever he could to find his way back home.

They looked for three weeks and on the twenty-first day they saw a strange sight in the distance. At first it didn’t look like Mason, but as he got closer, pulling himself along and dragging two broken legs, they realized that this dirt-encrusted skinny little dog was indeed their beloved Mason.

As I read the story I wondered why we don’t do that in our relationship with God? So often, if we feel that we’ve messed up or fallen down, we want to clean up our act before we come home. Not Mason! At great cost he got himself back to the place where he knew he was loved. Yet no matter how beloved that little warrior dog is, it doesn’t begin to compare with how we are loved by God our Father.

You might remember the story in John’s gospel of a woman who tried to hide her life. She came to fetch water at the village well at the hottest time of the day so that she could avoid the disapproving looks of others. She was a woman with a reputation in a small town — there’s not much worse than that. She’d been married five times and was now living with a man who wouldn’t even offer her that protection, only giving her a roof over her head, which she was grateful to take.

Jesus said to her, “But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

The word used there in the Greek for truth is Alethia. It means “with nothing hidden.” Jesus told this desperate woman that He knew all that was true about her and He still loved her.

It’s the same for you and me. Jesus knows everything about each one of us and He loves us. That’s the simple, profound truth of the gospel. Jesus meets us at the place of our greatest brokenness and welcomes us home to His heart. Just come as you are!

 

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