God’s love reaches farther than you can run away

Cats are constant at Safe Haven Farm. Except for a few recent years, we have always have a kitten or two around. The most recent litter we welcomed had seven, although unfortunately the other wildlife around the farm didn’t allow that to last very long. We have owls and snakes and coyotes, and four of the seven vanished overnight. But we still had three. Until we woke up a few days ago and found only one remaining.

I was pretty torn up about that. This litter had made it so long, and I’d hoped that they would continue to do well. And even when we lost the four, we still had the three others. But only one left? Sad.

So yesterday morning when we went outside and found all three of them back like nothing had happened, we were pretty happy. The two beige kittens had gone off exploring and took their time coming back. Having them home again was a relief. And it got me thinking about homecomings in general and why they mean so much to us.

A wide-eyed kitten at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

A wide-eyed kitten at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Joel 2:12-14.

That is why the Lord says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
sending you a blessing instead of this curse.
Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
to the Lord your God as before.

Everybody reaches that point in their life where they need to go home again. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from or even how old you are. Home is a part of us on the very basic level, and we all have to go back. That is, assuming we’ve left.

The older I get, the more I see the importance of making God your home. I love my house. I love my family. I love the close friends who mean so much to me. And while they all provide me with a certain level of comfort, they can’t match the safety and the refuge I find in my Lord. He’s always there for me. He always knows what I mean, whether I say it or not. He knows when I hurt, which is important because I rarely talk about that sort of thing out loud. He’s always around to remind me that He’s big enough for whatever problem I’m facing, and I can’t ever go far enough away that He can’t find me.

But He’s easy to run away from. Not saying you can actually outrun Him, but we all like to try. He’s just more stubborn than we are, and He won’t ever let us go.

I don’t think we can grasp the joy God feels when we turn around and come home after we’ve been wandering. Imagine being reunited with a close friend you lost contact with. You knew they were out there, but they just weren’t interested in talking to you anymore, and then all of a sudden, they’re back again. And your friendship can pick up where you left off, and you can start living life together again. Then magnify that a million and a half times.

If you’ve left home, if you’ve run away from God, turn back now. It’s tempting to keep running, believing that your actions outweigh the love He has for us, but that’s a lie the enemy whispers to keep you running scared. God’s love is stronger than anything else, especially your screw-ups.

But don’t just turn your face back to God. Don’t just make a show for the sake of people around you. God doesn’t care how impressive you look or how many words you can pray or how well you know your Bible. What matters to God is your heart.