“I can’t find her; she’s gone. I’ve looked everywhere. Call everyone now!”
“Calm down so I can understand what’s happened. Who is gone, your dog?”
“God no,” I shouted with irritation. It’s Jamie. She was taking a nap and when I checked on her, she wasn’t there.”
“I’m on it! I’ll contact the neighborhood troops.”
In the early 1980s I belonged to a neighborhood watch block club. I was a young mom living alone in the city with a preschool aged child. The network of neighbors and foot patrol police officer that walked the area provided a sense of security.
That summer afternoon was like so many others. Water splashed in backyard wading pools, dogs barked while kids pedaled bikes down the sidewalks and the giant maple trees that lined the city streets brought an occasional cool breeze though open windows. But the neighbors congregated on my front lawn reminded me this wasn’t just an ordinary summer day; they were there to organize a neighborhood search for my missing four-year-old daughter, Jamie
The foot patrol officer’s walkie-talkie crackled in the background as he walked the rooms of my house. His search was unproductive and I feared the worst; someone had entered through the front door and taken my little girl while I was mowing in the back yard.
The search begins.
The block club divided into groups to canvas the area with the hope that Jamie had wandered out the front door and would be found playing in a neighbor’s yard. As I waited on the front porch for updates, the repeated shouts of her name were heard in every direction.
An hour went by and reports from the search teams were all negative. My four-year-old daughter was nowhere to be found and I was inconsolable. Jamie was lost. I sat on the step of the front porch, clasped my arms around my knees and sobbed uncontrollably.
The search ends.
It was the soft whimper of a child’s voice that caused me to turn my head. Pressed against the screen door was the face of a blonde haired, blue eyed four-year-old. With silky blanket in hand and a thumb in her mouth, she quietly spoke, “Hi Mommy.” Within seconds my mourning turned to joy as I ran to cradle her in my arms.
“Where were you?” I asked, as I smothered her with kisses. “I couldn’t find you.”
“I was ‘snuck’ mommy.”
“Where were you stuck, show mommy?”
We walked to her bedroom where she pointed to a space between the wall and bed.
“I was ‘snuck’ in there.”
Jamie had rolled off the bed during her nap and had become wedged between the wall and base of the bed. Because of the built-in drawers beneath the bed, we were unable to see she had fallen between the cracks. The search parties were rounded up and alerted of the good news.
It remains a mystery why Jamie never heard an entire neighborhood repeatedly shout her name. It wasn’t until she opened her eyes and found herself alone, frightened and ‘snuck’ that she sought to find comfort in the arms of someone who loved her.
The search that is ongoing.
Maybe that’s how Jesus feels when He continually calls out our name and we don’t answer. When we don’t respond, He summons the neighborhood of Heaven to search, find and rescue His missing child. Jesus never gives up and when we finally awake and open our eyes to the light, He is there to take our hand and keep us from falling into places we shouldn’t be.
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 LITV)
God is eternally committed to fulfill all the good things He has in mind for us if we will only hear His call. He will never recall the search party for your soul.