He usually played in the back yard or in the field that adjoined it, but on this day, he found himself being lured into the front yard. His attention had been drawn to a cute little dog he hadn’t seen before.
He was only allowed to cross the gravel road for one reason. If one of his parents gave him permission to retrieve the mail from the mailbox on the other side of the road, he could do so, but only after hearing the familiar, “Be sure you look both ways!”
But on this day, he crossed the road without looking both ways and without permission. He couldn’t waste that much time. His new friend was already well ahead of him.
Before he knew it, he was in the woods across the road from his house. Yes, those woods. The woods his parents had made sound so terrible. His new friend apparently hadn’t seen any danger, though, so he had happily followed him into the “forbidden forest.”
Before long, a new realization dawned on him. He had no idea where he was. He also had no idea where his new friend was. He was surrounded by briars. He was all alone. He was scared. He wanted to go home, but he did not know how to get there.
He was very glad to hear his dad’s voice calling his name!
He knew he might be in trouble for doing what his parents had told him repeatedly not to do, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He had no desire to ever be in those woods again. He didn’t care if he ever saw that dog again (which he didn’t).
Later, he discovered why his parents had warned him so sternly about those woods. There was an old abandoned well in those woods. He learned that his dad’s heart sank when he saw the evidence that his only child had been dangerously close to that well. The well was so obscured with leaves, limbs, etc. that the father feared that there was a chance that his son’s body would never be found if, indeed, his son had fallen into the well.
The little boy never knew he was in that much danger. He just knew that his “adventure” wasn’t as exciting or rewarding as he had thought it might be and that he was more than ready for the comfort and security of home.
About sixty years later, that “little boy” has five grandchildren, all of whom are older than he was when his carelessness could have cost him his life. In those sixty or so years, he’s seen his story repeated countless numbers of times.
He’s seen far too many people follow a person, a lifestyle, a philosophy, and any number of other things so far “into the woods” that they become totally disoriented and estranged from the people who really love them. More importantly, they have become so confused and entangled that they don’t think they can find their way back to God.
For more than thirty of those sixty years, He has attempted to warn people about the dangers of being lured in and/or lured away by improper influences. He’s also spent quite a bit of time trying to reclaim those who have become ensnared by Satan and his devices (cf. 2 Cor. 2:11).
He has shed tears of joy when a precious soul has returned home. He has also shed tears of sadness when one has gone into eternity without ever returning home.
You have a Father who loves you, a Savior who died for you, and brothers and sisters in the Lord who care deeply for you. You’ve got way too much to lose in an unguarded and reckless moment.
Please take it from one who has been there — Don’t follow the dog!
Photo background credit: Rob Bixby on Creative Commons