I don’t know what kind of trouble this kid was in, but his dad refused to stop looking for him. Dads are like that. At least good dads are.
I met them at the park on Saturday when I’d taken my girls on a walk. I saw the kid when we first arrived. I’m guessing he was maybe a high school freshman, maybe just a big middle schooler, either way too big for the playground. He sat on the swings talking to a couple of girls and left soon after we arrived.
My wife said she thought she’d overheard them say something about a missing wallet and someone calling the police.
A few minutes later the kid’s dad pulled up on bicycle and flagged me down.
“Have you seen some teenagers up here?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “They just left.”
“That’s my boy.” he said. “If he comes back, keep your eye on him. He’s been in some trouble.”
Then he headed off, continuing the search for his son. Awhile later the son did return with his friends, passed through the park and headed out the other side. I got distracted with my own kids and missed exactly which direction they’d gone.
About ten minutes later, the dad pedaled back through, and I gave him my vague report. He thanked me then stopped to scan the park, trying to decide which way to go.
I wish I could have taken a picture of his expression just then – fierce, determined and a little desperate. It was the expression of a man who loved his son.
He took his best guess and shot off after them. Before we left, he came back through one last time, his face still resolute yet a bit more anxious.
I don’t what happened after that, don’t know if he found his son, if they worked through their trouble or what.
But I am sure of one thing. He wasn’t going to give up. You could tell that by his face.
It made me think of a story Jesus once told about a son who’d run away from home and a father eager for his return. I thought of the father watching for his prodigal and pictured the same expression on his face that I’d seen in the park.
I also thought about how Jesus once said He’d come to earth to seek and save the lost. I don’t know if Jesus owns a bike, but I bet if He did, He’d ride it all over the neighborhood looking for you and me. He seems to have this thing for wanting to be close to us no matter what kind mess we find ourselves in.
Whatever you’re running from this week, I can tell you that God is hot on your heels, pursuing you with a love that just never quits.