The Stray

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Size: 5" x 7"
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Sarah, a tot of three, took off running toward the strange howling sounds from across the dirt road.  I followed her quick pursuit to find, lying on its back in a ditch, the dirtiest, mangiest, ugliest, flea-bitten hound I’d ever seen. 

My daughter looked up at me and said, “Ain’t he pretty daddy?” 
Knowing little girls’ tender hearts, I laid down the law:  “We are not keeping that dog!” Sarah’s eyes saddened, her bottom lip poked out, and suddenly she jumped down in the ditch with the dog.  Before I could stop her, she lifted the puppy’s leg and discovered the only clean spot on the filthy animal.  She rose slowly to her feet and proudly announced, “Well, the white on him is pretty.” 

Sarah won.  I picked up the smelly dog and carried him to the house.  We dipped him in a solution that killed everything but the dog, and gave him many baths until he was clean.  Sarah took him into the kitchen where he scoffed up a whole can of dog food. 

The next morning when Sarah was holding the stray in her arms, I saw more than a little girl and a dog; I saw Jesus.  Once, I was the stray that had fallen into the ditch of life.  Sin took me there.  That is where Jesus found me and took me home to Papa’s house.  He washed me clean with His blood and fed me food so good I’ve never wanted to go back to the ditch...  

“for when the good shepherd finds the lost stray, he joyfully puts it on his shoulder and goes back home.”  Luke 15:5