Thursday

The Hound of Heaven

Our dog Chuck is a daschund-beagle mix, which means that he is a hound and is a good hunter. There are two classifications of hounds: hounds that track by sight and those that track by scent. Chuck is definitely the latter. In fact, he is often our first clue that a mouse is in the house because he'll start sniffing all over the place - obsessively.

Bloodhounds are especially tenacious and were originally bred to hunt large animals. Now they are used by law enforcement to track down people. Bloodhounds, like all scent hounds, have high endurance levels and can track their quarry for miles. They can even track a scent through running water, according to dog-names.org.uk.

Have you ever heard God referred to as the hound of heaven? The term came from a poem written by Francis Thompson, who describes running from God like trying to escape a hound: "From those strong Feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat ..."

This term for God applies to my dad's experience. In 1967 as a soldier in Vietnam, my dad was rummaging through his locker one night and picked up a Bible that my grandmother had given him. At that time, my dad, who was not a Christian, prayed, "God, if you get me out of here I promise to serve you."

What my dad did not understand at the time is that he had unleashed a baying hound that chased him for another five years until he was caught. Like so many have said about being caught, all they could do was give up and serve. The ironic thing about the story was that my dad told it during his annual church treasurer's report. Not only had he kept his promise, he had served God by doing a job in the church that not many people want!

All of us have a story to tell about God chasing us. If you haven't been caught, you might as well give up. The Hound of Heaven is tenacious. You'll be happier (and more peaceful) if you just let yourself get caught.

Note: "Hound of Heaven" is also a poem written by Francis Thompson.