She was dubbed this infamous title when we found out that she has been going out, into the town, wandering late at night. ...to be fed? ...to interact with all the people at the local pubs who think she is adorable? We aren't really sure why she goes... but, go she does!
The problem with her wandering is multifaceted, for sure! But, the biggest problem is that she is a black Labrador and, with few street lights, our little town is very dark at night. The likelihood of her getting hit by a passing car is very high. She is not street wise and she is black as the night. She is simply not safe wandering the night streets! ...my Gomer dog.
We do provide all that she needs here in our home... warmth, food, relationship, and faithful care. And yet, she still runs away. She still wanders.
She, our dog, also receives punishment when she is caught (which she doesn't like!)... but, still, she wanders. We love her much! And, yet, she runs.
I don't think it is only coincidence that last week in Spurgeon's devotional, he focuses his readers on Hosea 14. And, I also don't think it is coincidence that this morning, in a separate devotional my "reading" for today was Hosea 14. Do you think God might be saying something to me? I do.
I, too, could go by the nickname Gomer.
I, too, wander. I wander away from what I know is best and safe. I wander in thought and deed. I wander while knowing full well that what I have in my Heavenly Father is perfect relationship, warmth, food and faithful care.
Yesterday it was the food that I wasn't hungry for... physically hungry for... that I choose to eat anyway. This isn't a new temptation, if you are new to my blog. ...a lust for taste overpowering the nudges of the Spirit to "stop".
...my punishment: an over-full, uncomfortable stomach. And, harder still, deep conviction that again (yes, again!) I have wandered from the safety and beautiful gift that God actually intended physical food to be for me.
Some, I suppose, wouldn't feel the burden of overeating at a meal. For some this, "oops, I ate too much!" isn't a big deal. And, sometimes we do it "by accident", for sure. But, this wasn't the case yesterday. I knew full well what I was doing and kept on eating! Rebellion was part of my overeating yesterday.
As a Church, we do tend to talk about our gluttony, ...that bag of chips, that chocolate bar, ...with a very light-hearted, unaffected easiness and manner. Typically our greatest concern is the added inches to our waistline. For me, it is more than that. The Lord, long ago, took me to task for my wandering lust for food and how I use food to "feed" the needs only the Lord can fill. It is no longer about my waistline... it is so, so very much about my heart. This may not be your issue. Our issues are all different. Our temptations very unique. Our wanderings look as different as the shape of our noses.
So, anyway... My "Gomer" dog wanders. And, I welcome her back each and every time. Of course, I do! I still will feed her, pet her, and give her a warm place to sleep. Even though I know full well she will wander if given the chance, I will still love her.
And, she is just a dog. And, I am just a human.
Aren't I worth so much more to God than many sparrows (or dogs!)? (Matt. 10:31)
And, if I ...who am evil... know how to give good gifts and love, doesn't my Father in Heaven give beyond and above me! (Matt. 7:11)
My repeat offense... a temptation and fall that pulls me down from time to time... this too, has been taken and covered by the blood of my Savior Jesus! This strikes me as particularly awe-some today. In light of my wandering heart, this Truth and this Love is striking and poignant.
Just as God instructed Hosea to go and get Gomer back from her night's wandering... again, and again. So, He invites me back. Always.
And, this is what He was reminding me this morning. This is what He has been whispering to my heart via my dog, Spurgeon and my devotional book. ... return to me, again, Stephanie. Bring to me your words of repentance, again. And, I will... I will love you faithfully! I will feed you, again. I will take you in and wash you. I will love you and delight in you! ...just come back.
And, go and sin no more.