The Prodigal Hamster

Originally published July 25, 2013

Snowflake got loose. Allie and her BFFIF (that stands for Best Friend in Family), Cousin Bethany, built a habitat for Allie's hamster out of an empty case of Diet Dr Pepper, paper towel rolls and duck tape. They made a huge mess, but it entertained them for a long time (that's worth a lot in the summer) and they were awfully proud of it upon completion. They put Snowflake in it and she seemed to enjoy the change of scenery. What we didn't realize, was that Allie and Bethany left Snowflake in this redneck contraption when they went to bed. It never occurred to me that they would believe she was secure in there overnight. So we didn't check. The next morning, we woke up to one worried little girl standing over us. Snowflake had flown the new coop and was no where to be found. We frantically searched, but could not find her. We finally had to give up and go to church. More hunting later in the day produced no fruit and we began to doubt that our pet would be found alive. In addition to our 2 dogs, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's 2 dogs were visiting. I was terrified that we would eventually walk in on a feast.

What to do?  Chuck decided that we should get a live mouse trap to lure her out. He and Allie headed to the store, but it was too late and the store was closed by the time they got around to it. So Allie formulated a plan. She decided that if she left Snowflake's cage on the ground with the door open, that she might crawl back in to find food and water after being on the lam for 24 hours. And it worked. The next morning, a very relieved Allie found her little critter contentedly sitting in her comfy cage with the door wide open.

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, this incident reminded me of the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 of the bible. The son decided he no longer wanted to live under his father's roof and father's rules. He asked for his share of his inheritance and took off on his own, partying and squandering his money. When it was all gone and he was literally living in a pig pen, he remembered how good he had it at home with his father. Verse 17 says, "he came to his senses". "I am dying here with hunger," he said. I can imagine Snowflake thinking the same thing.  The son went home, groveling, but his father wasn't angry. He was so relieved and happy to see him that he ran to him, embraced him, lavished him with gifts and threw him a party. Don't you know that your Heavenly Father feels the same way about us?  When we decide that the grass looks greener if we venture off on our own, we soon find how wrong we are. When we refuse to live under God's rules, we also remove ourselves from under His protection.  But no matter how long we stay away, Abba is waiting for us with open arms. And when we return to His will, He will celebrate and rejoice, just like the father did in verse 32. Cue the party music and bring out the cake and balloons!