For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10
As many people are these days, I am in a book club. Of course, these days we find ourselves meeting in Zoom sessions and waiting until we determine that we can once again meet in person! My book club started over 20 years ago, and I have so enjoyed the experience of reading many diverse books. I have loved to read since childhood, so any time spent reading is considered by me to be a treat. Our club’s selection for this month is The Keeper of Lost Things, and while it is certainly not a religious book in any way, I have not been able to stop thinking about God while I have been reading it. It is because of the title and the actions of the keeper. He has been on a quest to search out lost items and catalog them, noting when he found them and where they were at the time. A compassionate man, he is concerned for the people who lost these items and imagines stories that might explain how these came to be lost. In many ways, this keeps reminding me of God and how He could be called the keeper of lost things, for aren’t we all lost? Too often we wander through this life feeling lost, alone, set aside, marginalized, inadequate, rudderless, or forgotten. We all want to be found, to be given purpose and meaning in this life. We need the keeper of lost things to seek us out.
It’s strange the way seemingly insignificant early childhood experiences can make a deep impact on us. I have a strong memory of being in the church nursery before I was old enough to attend “big church.” One Sunday, as I watched parents come to pick up their children, I soon found myself the last one there. I waited and waited…and waited. I remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I had the awful thought that my parents were not coming for me. Obviously, I was too small to think clearly about the situation, so I was beginning to become fearful that I had been abandoned. Now, I must clarify here that Becky’s and my parents were absolutely loving and wonderful and there was certainly no history of my being abandoned!! However, I was at that tender age when everything was black or white. It was time for me to go, but they had not come. Of course, I was flooded with relief when I finally saw them enter the nursery to take me home. I had been saved and I could go home again!
The Shepherd Finds Us
Being connected, in relationship, and belonging are extremely important to us and are crucial to our well-being. I touched on this in my last blog post. Feeling lost prevents us from experiencing those important bonds with others. That is why we need the keeper of lost things. God is there to find us when we’re at our lowest. As the shepherd, he is always calling to us, telling us to come home and to stay by his side, but when we cannot find our way back to his path, he ultimately comes looking for us. What a wonderful relief for us, when we are going the wrong direction, or feeling that our world has dropped out from under us, then suddenly we hear His voice, or feel that gentle tapping on the shoulder, or feel the warmth in our heart start to melt the fear away. We have been found! The relief that washed over me that day in the nursery cannot touch the depths of joy and gratitude that we feel when God reaches down to pull us close and places us back on the path toward home, with Him.
“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? Matthew 18:12