by Christina Rose
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:12–14 NLT
One beautiful summer morning long ago we drove to Lexington, Massachusetts, to watch the Fourth of July parade. My cousins, siblings, and I were all young, so we held hands tightly as we made our way through the crowds to sit on the curb—a front-row seat. Minutemen with fifes and drums, people in period costumes, and horses and floats rolled by as the crowd cheered and clapped.
Suddenly my mother shrieked in panic. My three-year-old younger brother was missing, lost in the crowds. The atmosphere shifted from cheering to terror as we called out frantically for him, and others soon joined us in the search until at last he was found. Mom swooped little Chuckie up her in arms, planted him with kisses and wouldn’t let him go.
We might not understand how a shepherd would leave his flock of ninety-nine to go after the one that is lost. Yet, if our child or someone else goes missing we won’t rest until they are found. God relentlessly pursues us to restore us back to the safety of the flock.
The Father sent His Son, Jesus, on a mission to find those who are lost so that they will one day join Him in eternity. “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10 NLT).
When the prodigal son took his inheritance and moved away, he lost all his money and began to starve. He returned home to his father who gratefully welcomed his lost son home. “For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” (Luke 15:32 NLT)
The parable of the lost coin likens how God’s angels rejoice when someone lost has been found:
Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents. Luke 15:8-10 NLT
When Hagar felt lost and abandoned in the wilderness, God saw her, healed her broken heart, and led her back to the safety of the flock. The woman at the well felt scorned, alone and abandoned; the Good Shepherd sought her out. Jonah tried to run from God’s purpose, but God chased him down and steered him back to his calling.
God’s love and mercies never fail us. “‘For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:10 NLT).
We have all been lost at one time, but the Good Shepherd relentlessly searches for us. He pursues us, woos us, and at times places challenges in our paths that we might surrender and return joyfully to the safety of the flock.
God values every individual. In His quest that everyone might be saved, He enlists other flock members to assist in the search for the lost. Without this initiative, some may never realize they are lost and otherwise will never know the peace of salvation.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29 NLT
This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace: Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily.
Join the conversation: Have you witnessed the Good Shepherd seeking and finding the lost?