Oct 23, 2014

Gratitude : What Our Lost Dog Taught Me About the Gospel


"Hi! My name is Kilo."


Since I was kid, there was always a dog or two at home primarily for security reasons. Four years ago, our American pit bull terrier Kilo was added to the family. I wouldn't be surprised if he took a love language test and got Physical Touch for his results—this dog is a clingy one and everyone at home loves him. In fact, we love all of our dogs. My mom and dad make sure they are well-fed, bathed, and get enough exercise. We laugh at the silly things they do and try to discipline them when they misbehave. 

Kilo is one of my favorite dogs because of his clinginess. He's laid-back and rarely barks but he is protective. His light brown eyes are kind, pensive, and watchful. 

Then on Friday October 10, I saw my mom post on Facebook that he's missing.


My mom and I texted back and forth talking about details, how he got lost and all. Our house is close to the highway and Kilo managed to walk from the backyard to the side of the road. Instead of going back, he wandered away from our house. The following day my brother printed out flyers and we handed it around the neighborhood. We'd worry when it rained because we didn't know if he found shelter or not. What about his food? What about dirty water? Strange as this may sound, part of us wished that if we never find him, that he would just die a sudden death instead of suffering long. But we prayed that he would somehow find his way home or we'd see him while driving around. 

The day I found out he was gone, I actually couldn't concentrate at work and I kept thinking of him.

One day turned into one week. Road construction workers gave us hope after they claimed to have spotted Kilo walking about, but going in the wrong direction. After five days, he's still lost. On the third night that he's been missing, I cried. I was overcome by grief because losing him felt like losing a dear friend. After a good cry, I had a peace that assured me he's still alive and whether or not he found his way home, we'd decided to let him go.

I went home that weekend and it was not the same without Kilo. My mom and I drove around the neighborhood again on Saturday morning to look for him and handed out more flyers. At that point, we were okay with losing him but we were still hoping we'd find him.

One week became two weeks (ten days to be exact) until my mom was contacted by kids loitering about. They led her to where Kilo was—by the river where he nearly drowned. He was rescued and kept by strangers until my mom picked him up. He's lost a lot of weight and his paws were wounded from walking around too much but other than that, he's doing okay. My mom told me that upon seeing the car, Kilo made his way to her and hopped on without hesitation. He was given a warm bath, milk, and meat when he arrived. He was famished and weak, but he was home. He needs to recover still, but he was home.

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While I cried because of Kilo that one night, I suddenly thought of people. People who come from different backgrounds, with their own stories and personalities, all wandering and alone. People who, like Kilo, are probably searching for home but they are like sheep without a shepherd. People without Jesus. People who think they don't need Jesus, and people who know they need him but don't know where to begin. I was surprised at how much I cried for our dog but I couldn't even cry for these people. I was more passionate about our pet than people. 

I reflected on the parable of The Prodigal Son and the Father's love for his children. Where are you going, My child? Where are you My child?  I have formed you and know my plans for you, but you are wandering. I long for you to come home. It is not the same without you. Come home, my child; there is always room for you here.

I thought of how much it breaks the Father's heart to see his children astray and in the same way, how unequivocal the joy is when the child comes home. The emotions I experienced during Kilo's wandering made me see a striking picture of God's passion as our Father. He also reminded me that indeed, I once was lost but now I'm found, wretched person that I am. And being rescued from the snares of sin and death, I am to participate in reconciling lost sons and daughters to their Heavenly Father so that they too may move from darkness into light. I'm thankful not only that we found our dog but also for the Holy Spirit's conviction in my heart.

To look for our lost dog, we did everything within our means. We acted in haste. 

And God? Well, he also gave everything that he might redeem us.

My prayer now is that as much as I valued Kilo and treated him like family, I would look at a person and remember that he is inherently valuable. That the Father loves him, sent his Son Jesus to redeem him, and longs to make him a new creation fit for his kingdom. My heart needs to see, be burdened, and be moved to love. Love is the greatest commandment and the fulfillment of God's laws. Everyone is worth loving—yes, even the ones we deem unlovable! 

I pray that I would weep for my neighbors. And after laboring in prayer, to finally walk them home. 

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