Can you remember the last time you waited to hear from someone about something important? Did the minutes seem like hours and hours seem like days? Bad news can break our hearts and plunge us into despair and good news can be downright exhilarating as we exhale a huge sigh of relief when we hear the news.
I had such an experience recently when my niece told me that Bandit, a beloved family dog, was lost. Panic ensued and a frantic search began. My niece and I went door-to-door in the neighborhood, walked through fields, climbed up hills, and scampered down ravines until it was too dark to continue. We made our way home, prayed for Bandit’s safety, and tried to get some sleep.
We began the next day with a strategy session. We posted information on the Internet, visited local shelters, and searched the neighborhood (once again) hoping that someone had taken Bandit in for the night. Days passed and we did not find him. We started to get discouraged.
A couple nights later I received a text message from my niece that said, “We found Bandit! We got a call fifteen minutes ago and we’re going to go pick him up right now!” Elated, I texted her back, “Awesome, call me when you’ve got him!” The phones went crazy as the whole family started calling each other sharing the news and trying to piece the story together. Who found him? Where did they find him? Is he okay?
A woman found Bandit in a bowling alley parking lot a few miles from the house. You can imagine our relief! Bandit was lost, but now he was found. He was home at last, back with his family, playing tug-of-war with his doggie siblings.
As much as we all love a feel-good story about animals, that’s not the only reason I’m sharing Bandit’s escape attempt with you. When Jesus taught people about the Father’s love, grace, and mercy, He often used parables. My family’s experience searching for Bandit reminds me of the parable of the lost sheep.
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? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:4-7 (NIV)
When heaven rejoices over a lost person repenting, it stems from being relieved. All of heaven exhales and celebrates when this happens.
Are you feeling lost? The Father sent Jesus to save you. He wants to rescue you and bring you back to the Father.
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17 (NIV)
If you want to be rescued, you can pray and ask God to forgive you. He will forgive you and the celebration will begin.
Have you ever lost something you cherished and then found it? How did you feel?
All of heaven exhales a sigh of relief and celebrates when a lost person repents.
What do you think about God’s carefully orchestrated plan to bring you back to Him?
If you would like to learn more about God’s plan, check out my book Rediscovering the Divine: Seeing God in a Whole New Way.
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