God has been referred to as the Hound of Heaven in a poem by English poet, Francis Thompson. That phrase made the poet famous.
The name Hound of Heaven is odd and frightening at first. It makes me think of the mysterious creature on the moors of England in Conan Doyle's Sherlock tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Spooky!!
I have a better story of a hound—one from my own home. We had an amazing sheltie early in our marriage that showed me the power of the dog's ability to track and find that which is lost.
Dogs have a tough time moving to a new home. They are territorial and they get downright confused with the new smells and the new area to protect.
Our sheltie was trying his best to do his dog-thing when we moved across the country. We drove into our new hometown late in the evening but our furniture had not arrived. Instead of moving into our new house, we stayed at a friend's home.
We tied our dog to a long line outdoors for the evening. Two days later we put him in the car and drove 7 blocks to our new home. Double confusion set in.
At the new home, he had an entire new backyard to explore and make his own. Day three in the new home, the gate to our backyard was left open and he disappeared. I panicked.
Would we be able to find our pet in this new town? Surely he couldn't find his way home on his own.
I called the home of our friends where we had stayed for two nights. My daughter had spent the night with their daughter and I suggested they walk in the neighborhood and look for our lost pet.
No need! When my friend walked back to her daughter's bedroom she heard barking from outside the window. Not only had our dog found his way seven blocks to their home BUT he also found the window of the room where my daughter was staying. He ran in circles outside barking to get her attention.
Finding this hound was indeed heavenly.
The poet Francis Thompson never meant anything scary by describing God as the Hound of Heaven. He only referred to God's steadfast pursuit of His own children when they stray from His presence.
In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the woman who searches for the lost coin and the shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to seek out that one lost sheep. He searches for His own and doesn't quit until they are back in His arms.
If you are feeling lost or distant from God, I know He is pursuing you. He is relentless and steadfast in His desire to have you in His arms again.