“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.” (Luke 15: 4-6, New International Version)
The good shepherd will never let one of his sheep stray. Each one is precious to him, and he takes special care to seek out that one that has run away from the pack. And when that little one that may have caused the shepherd to worry is found and brought home, there is joy, gratitude.
We are all important to God. No matter how far we may wander from what feels right and good; no matter how confused or even faithless we may be, God is prepared to find us. The obedient ones, the sheep who know that they are loved and feel safe, are doing fine where they are, in their familiar pastures. They are secure in the awareness that they are cared for.
When we lose our way, we don’t get shunned, abandoned, or punished by God. We get sought out. God knows we belong to Him—to goodness, to Life, to Love. He is ready to find us, wherever our lives or our hearts seem to have roamed, and to carry us back to safety, to bring us home to our best selves, to a place of peace within.
And this restoration is a cause for joy. God is not angry at us. He knows we belong in His place, in His embrace, and there is a celebration in awakening us to this sweet reality as well, to the safety and freedom of home.
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