I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
My little Norfolk terrier, Maggie, loves to roam freely in our expansive, fenced-in yard. She has never known anything like this!
Where we live before Danny and I marry has no fenced area. Her walks and explorations of our neighborhood are confined by a leash.
What joy she takes now in chasing squirrels and wandering wherever she chooses!
But, there is a catch.
Danny's boys, Giovanni and Nicco, are unaccustomed to keeping the yard gates latched. We strongly caution them to make sure, since Maggie is here, to always, always close and secure them from now on. They take us seriously and promise to do so.
But, old habits die hard . . .
One evening, Maggie whines at the door to be let out. It is dark, but there is enough light from the porch lamps for her to negotiate the stairs which lead from our deck to the yard.
Off she gallops!
I return to my computer where I am checking e-mails and catching up on the news.
About ten minutes pass.
"Where's Maggie?" Asks Giovanni who is particularly fond of my dog.
"She's in the backyard," I tell him. "Want to go check on her?"
"Sure!" He grins and dashes out the door.
It is only moments before I hear his feet thundering back up the deck stairs.
I turn just in time to see his stricken face, his eyes wide with fear.
"Martha! The gate is open! Maggie is gone!"
"Gone?!" I leap out of my chair in a panic. "Oh, we have to find her! Quick, guys! Grab some flashlights. Hurry!"
The boys waste no time. Within seconds, we are mobilized for our search and rescue mission.
But, where to look? Did she amble into the woods? Trot up the driveway?
I have a hunch.
"Let's take the driveway and hope that's the way Maggie went, too."
We trudge up the steep incline together, flashlights beaming in all directions.
"Maggie! Maggie! Here, girl! C'mon, Maggie!"
But, Maggie, adopted from an elderly couple, and always tethered to a leash, does not know to come when called . . .
We reach the top of the driveway and frantically scan the cul-de-sac, flashlights zooming here and there like errant lasers.
We head up the street. Giovanni sprints ahead.
Dear Lord, please let us find her . . . please . . . please . . .
"Here she is! Here she is!" Giovanni's jubilant cry fills the air. Fills us with relief.
Sure enough. There's Maggie. Just beyond the crest of the hill. Nonchalantly sniffing around a neighbor's mailbox.
Giovanni grabs her collar and steers her, thankfully, toward home.
And, closing the gate?
Never a problem again!
How does knowing Jesus is "the gate" in your life help you to trust Him in all your comings and goings?
Will you pray with me?
We know, Father, that we can come and go and never be lost when Jesus is the gate of our lives. He is always there to protect us and watch over us even when we wander or stray. There are always green pastures, no matter what side of the gate we are on, when we trust in Him. Amen.
Psalms 101, 109:1-4 (5-19) 20-30
1 John 2:12-17