Some readers have asked when I am going to write another Buddy column. Buddy is our tri-color Pembroke Corgi that we adopted nine years ago. His story is available on Amazon in a book I wrote, “just the way he told it to me.” He is still happy and healthy, but his energy level, like mine, has diminished. Instead of retrieving a ball all morning he chases it 2 or 3 times and lays down. He thinks that is enough. After 9 years, Buddy knows my voice and he knows his name. When I call, he comes!
Sometimes he comes when I first call him, running at top speed, which is not all that fast. Sometimes he loiters around, distracted by new smells and sounds So, I call him again. Occasionally I have to clap my hands. And sometimes he comes at a very slow walk, grudgingly. But he eventually comes when I call.
It seems to me that I am a lot like that with God. There are times when I sense God’s call, and I come running. But there are other times, much more often I think, when I am distracted by other interests, worries and concerns. I don’t listen for his voice as I should, and I don’t come as quickly as I should. Sometimes I come grudgingly.
When I was a child my parents always took me to church. At the end of every service the church offered an “invitation.” We all stood and sang a song while the preacher waited at the front to talk with anyone who wanted to make a decision for Christ. Sometimes we sang an old hymn.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me
Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.
Come home. Come home.
You who are weary come home.
Earnestly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
One day, I let go of the pew in front of me and went forward. Those first few steps made all the difference. When He called, I came. Ever since that day, I have been listening for His voice. I have never heard God speak audibly, though I do not doubt God can speak audibly to whomever He chooses. For me, it is an inner voice. Sometimes His voice acts like a compass, pointing the way forward.
Even when we wander away, drawn away by smells and sounds of the world, He is always calling, waiting and watching for us to come home to God.
Jesus said, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (John 10:2-3, 14-15).
In Psalms the Bible says, “He heals the broker hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:3-4). God knows your name. He knows mine. If we listen, we can hear him calling.