* This is a repost from September, 2018
One day, when my boys were little, we all took off from home on a walk as we did most days. This was a relatively new neighborhood for us and we had no established route. We were headed over to my best friend’s house that was within a mile and a half from us (with a number of right and left turns on the way). My oldest son (7 at the time) rode his bike in front of us. When we were very close to my friend’s house my son rode a little faster and I lost sight of him. I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed he had sped up and made it ahead of us to our destination. After arriving and greeting my friend, carrying on with our usual excited chatter, at least five or so minutes later I realized I hadn’t yet seen my son there at her house. I double checked with my friend that he had arrived before us. She said he hadn’t. I thought maybe he was playfully hiding or we had missed him in another room somehow. We called for him and looked through the house. With a growing dread in my gut, I went outside to make sure his bike was parked out front. I hadn’t even noticed before. His bike was glaringly missing from the front yard and I knew that my son was lost.
To make any attempt to explain this feeling of horror would be a waste of time because it goes without saying. Time needed to stop long enough for me to find my son! But time was cruelly carrying on in spite of it all – albeit in slow motion; a sound like a train running through my ears. Take my car! Go, find him! Climbing into my friend’s car and turning the key to an unknown future, I began to pray hysterically. Nothing in the world held an ounce of consequence at that moment. The only matter in existence was finding my lost son.
Searching, hoping, dreading – up and down every single street – it occurred to me that a miracle could have already happened. I had the thought that my son may have somehow been able to navigate through the unfamiliar and find his way home. Breath was hard to come by with this new found hope. A miracle had indeed taken place in that space where time had begged to stand still. He had found his way home! I ran to him! This trembling, young, precious, scared, and so very brave, smart son of mine clung to me. We hugged each other and wept. I can never, ever forget the floating-above-the-earth joy and relief and love I felt on that day, in that moment when I found my son. It is incomparable.
My husband and I recently held a Sunday morning service at the rehabilitation hospital where I volunteer. I spoke on the passage in Luke 15 where Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. If a shepherd has 100 sheep and one is lost he will leave the 99 others to go and search for the one. The shepherd will go after the one which is lost until he finds it. UNTIL HE FINDS IT. The shepherd calls everyone together to celebrate the one that is found. Jesus tells them that in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.
I opened my message with the story of my son – lost and found. I remembered the way I felt having my son safe again in my arms; that overwhelming surge of love that consumed my every thought. I likened it to how God feels when one of His children repents and is saved; restored unto Him. As I connected the two stories for the residents who were in attendance, I understood like I never had before, God’s response to our salvation. His intense and unceasing love for us is tender and He will seek after us until we are found and safe in His arms.
I was taken with the thought of Jesus finding and saving me in the midst of all my sin and failure and despair, clinging to Him as He embraces me with tears of joy that I’ve come home. I vowed to myself to always remember this connection that has helped me to understand God’s tender love for me more deeply than before. I want to do my best to stay near to Him and bless Him by regarding His love for me; trying faithfully to not allow anything to put distance between us. My found soul matters to God, and I will ask for His help to never disregard His passionate love or push Him away. If we will trust Him we will see that His love is ever being revealed to us.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10