Just pulled up to our house and the dogs came rushing out, frantic to see me. If they could talk, they would have been saying, "Do you realize the back door was wide open? Anything could have happened to us? The whole wide world was out there, ready to get in!" It was pretty funny, how terrified they both seemed. When we let our dogs out into our front yard, they happily wander up and down the street and surely don't want to return when we call them, especially the Big Lug. He's too busy smelling things, investigating this pile of yard waste, marking that telephone pole, sniffing that bush. He can't be bothered to come home until he's good and ready, if you don't mind. At least that's the way it appears to us. The littler one wouldn't roam very far away by herself, of course. She's too big a chicken, afraid of everything from other dogs to her own shadow. If she can stay on Jackson's tail, she's safe enough, but the minute she hears one of us calling her name, she comes racing home as if her life depended on it.
My point is, they are used to wandering the neighborhood. Within reason, anyway. And the neighbors all know them. Know Jackson's sweet and calm, know Jamaica's chicken little. Neither of them would hurt of flea (though Maica probably thinks a flea could hurt her!). However, they are creatures of absolute habit, these dogs. And they know that the door is supposed to be firmly shut when no humans are home, and they are supposed to be firmly shut inside that door. Perhaps I should safe safely shut within that door. The wide open door to our dogs, which I suspect happened because I didn't quite get it latched when I walked out (which reveals a well-known secret in these parts, though I won't spell it out here), did NOT signal freedom to them. It signaled the exact opposite: danger. Sheer, unadulterated danger.
It was such a clear picture to me of...well, us, and our predicament. We think we want doors open wide for us, so we can race out into whatever we please, to smell, see, taste that the world is good. But the truth is, we need parameters on our freedom. Boundaried to protect us...especially when He doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight. An unexpected open door leaves us more than a little nervous. What does it mean? What does it lead to? How far should we go? Sure, we've been out in that world a million times, but that was with the understanding that we weren't alone, that our Master would call us home. But that same open door without the presence of the Master signals danger. Sheer, unadulterated danger. And, like our dogs, it's best to stay where we're safe. Within the boundaries He has set for us.
And what joy when He shows up. Then, without a moment's hesitation, we'll go bounding through that open door, into the wide world, straight to Him.