“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27).
Buck the dog, in Jack London’s classic The Call Of The Wild, had grown up in lazy and sunny Northern California. He had lived what many would call the good life, roaming Judge Miller's spacious property in the Santa Clara Valley. But since Buck was a beast of an animal, a strong and fine specimen, one day he was stolen, sold, and shipped to Alaska. There, he worked as a sled dog delivering mail and, eventually, searching for gold. The tale is one of discovery, for Buck thought he was happy on those sun-kissed days in the valley, but it turned out life in the Yukon was a fuller and more vibrant life.
Sometimes he thought of Judge Miller’s big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley, and of the cement swimming-tank…but oftener he remembered the man in the red sweater, the death of Curly, the great fight with Spitz, and the good things he had eaten or would like to eat. He was not homesick. The Sunland was very dim and distant, and such memories had no power over him. Far more potent were the memories of his heredity that gave things he had never seen before a seeming familiarity; the instincts (which were but the memories of his ancestors become habits) which had lapsed in later days, and still later, in him, quickened and become alive again. — The Call Of The Wild, by Jack London
Believers are not called back to the wild, but back to the Father. He has created us in his image. Male and female, we are the sole portion of his creation formed in his image. He reveals himself in nature, yes, but he connects himself to us. God speaks and listens and loves and serves and enjoys — and we are to do the same. But this is not a given, for when we live and move as if God does not exist, we live outside his Fatherly call.
Many have attempted definitions of the good life. It is all about pleasure, says one. It is the accumulation of knowledge, says another. Safety and security, adventure and experience, love and romance, family and friendships, making a difference — one definition or another is submitted. Some even say Buck’s early life, the one roaming the vast expanses of a luxurious property in Northern California, would do quite nicely.
But isn’t there more? Isn’t the Father calling us back to himself? Doesn’t he want to draw us? We have been made in his image. Through Christ, the door has swung open for friendship and connection to God. Covered by the blood, we now speak his language. Infantile at first, a babble here and a gaga there, but, if we continue to show up, deeper and stronger and better over time. The vocabulary grows. The conversations broaden, then sharpen. God and human in friendship together. Is not this the good life? Perhaps the sun is shining, perhaps not, but God is.
Someone told me that, at age sixty-one, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote to himself, “Within, I do not find wrinkles and used heart, but unspent youth.” Perhaps that was his uninformed way of saying there was a call on him, something tugging, and maybe that tugging was the Father. The youthful zeal and longing for adventure still lived. God wanted to pull him out of self and sin and doubt and unrest, and into glorious sabbath.
Is the Spirit working the same call on you? If you are a believer in Christ, the Bible says he is. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'” (Romans 8:15).
Can you relate to the inward and upward pull of God? Do you feel the battle between the pull of the American Dream and the Father in heaven?
Respond to his call. It is a better life. Like Buck, you might recall the old definitions of the good life, but when you do, you’ll know the truth. You’re on a fresh adventure with God. Finding him, you’ve found yourself. The good life is found in your Father.