“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4 (NIV)
My friend lost a strawberry.
Not a big deal, right? After all, she had a whole bowlful still on the countertop, waiting to be transformed into a yummy dessert. But she swore she’d heard it go “plop” as it dropped on the floor and was concerned that her cat — the one with violent food allergies — would find it first.
So, she looked on the floor. Nothing. She moved the dish around. Reached into the sink drain. Lifted the waste basket. Got on her hands and knees, scouring every inch of the kitchen from a cat’s eye view. Still nothing.
Mystified and a little desperate, she said a quick prayer. “Lord, I know it’s just a strawberry, but I need your help. Will you please show me where it is?” And — you guessed it—her eye immediately went to a corner where she saw the renegade red fruit.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But to her this small blessing was a huge faith-booster, whispering that God cared enough about her to show His love in a uniquely intimate way.
Believer or skeptic, many of us default to divine assistance when something goes missing. When we’ve exhausted our own resources, it just makes sense to turn to the One who knows it all, right? Have you ever shot up a prayer after forgetting where you’ve parked your car in a crowded lot? Asked God to help you find a misplaced earring that later turned up in the laundry, sofa cushions, or lost-and-found bin? Torn the house apart, then prayed and walked right to that forgotten hidey-hole where you had stashed the emergency cash a little too well?
God may even touch others who don’t know Him yet through your prayers on their behalf. The frantic woman who found her keys after you prayed for her in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Your dad and his TV remote. Your sister-in-law and her wallet—slipped between the car seats.
Sometimes God answers our prayer right away; sometimes the answer comes months or even years later after we’ve practically given up. Sometimes, His response is a gentle “no” that may be hard to accept. Always, we can be sure that He listens to his children’s prayers and answers in love.
Or can we?
Maybe you’re the one who has lost her way today, friend. You’ve borne up under wave upon wave of tragedy, disappointment, loss. And now you no longer have the strength to believe that God really is as good as all that. Or maybe you feel like He’s good; He’s just powerless to staunch the hemorrhage in your heart. Or worst of all, maybe He’s good and powerful: He just doesn’t care about you.
That’s when a verse like Luke 15:4 can pull us back from the precipice of despair.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4 NIV
You see, God specializes in finding what is lost. It’s His number one priority. In the books of Luke and Matthew, Jesus tells three stories to emphasize the lengths to which He will go to restore those who have strayed — and the great joy He has in their return. The lost sheep (that’s you, little lamb) for whom He leaves the rest of the flock on a relentless search and rescue mission. The lost coin. The lost son.
“…suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Matthew 8:8-10 NIV
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Matthew 8:20 NIV
We are God’s children: precious, irreplaceable, and deeply loved. Wherever we wander, He stops at nothing to bring us back, including the sacrifice of His own Son’s life for ours.
Compassionate Lord, thank You for finding me and bringing me back to You. I’m so happy when I find something I’ve been looking for. How much more joy it must bring You when your people leave their wayward paths and return to you. Help me to seek You first and remember that You will restore to me everything else I need in Your perfect time.
Living near Southern California’s central coast, Leslie is a mom, writer, artist, and co-owner of a tech company with her husband. She has a passion for building up relationships, especially among families with aging parents. After losing hers a few years ago, she is writing a book to help other women walk through that painful season without the added burden of unresolved relational regret. Read more of her work at www.LAMcLeod.com or connect on Facebook and Instagram. She’d love to hear from you!
We thank you, Leslie, for your contribution to this publication of Titus-two.com and for your heartfelt wisdom and insight. Your words of encouragement have touched the hearts of many and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
You are loved to Heaven and Back, Leslie ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary