Sunday, November 6, 2011


It's 4:37am, and I just woke up from a nightmare.

I dreamed our family was walking down the grassy center area between two highways, and at some point Justin and I noticed that our children weren't behind us anymore. There were twists and turns behind us, so we didn't have a straight shot to see behind us to try and find them. Justin stayed put in case they returned, and I ran, desperate to find them.

My son showed up unharmed on his own. I celebrated and rejoiced, but having only one of my children home was not enough. I went right back on running, because my little girl was still wandering out there by herself. I ran with a fury and desperation I can't even begin to describe. I had to get to her. I couldn't bear the thought of what her fate could be if I couldn't get there in time. Then suddenly I was inside a house and a woman walked in, carrying my daughter over her shoulder. I couldn't tell if she was okay, so I asked, "Is she alive?" The woman nodded, and I grabbed my little girl and wailed and sobbed and cried the most relieved tears.

This is not how I wanted to wrap up a night of sleep--thinking of my son and daughter in such a dangerous situation. But what a picture God painted through it. He gave me just a tiny glimpse of his love-fueled, feverish pursuit of His children. Yes, He delights when one is found. There is great celebration when one is restored. But He can't get His mind off His children who are still out there wandering, with a potential fate He did everything to save us from.

Jesus painted this same picture with three back-to-back stories in Luke 15: First, a shepherd of 100 sheep who loses 1, and leaves the 99 to find and restore to home that one lost sheep. When he finds it, he calls his friends around to celebrate with him.

Next, a woman with 10 coins loses 1, and spends herself to find the one--lighting a lamp, sweeping in search, and looking carefully for the one lost coin. When she finds it, she calls her friends around to celebrate with her.

And then finally, the story of the lost son. A father with one of his sons safe at home finds that one alone is not enough. He spends every day staring out the window, hoping his son will return home safely. If you run the math, this man had half his children safe at home, but his heart hungrily hoped for his other son to come home. And when the son did, the man was standing there waiting, watching, looking out the window. And when he saw the outline of his boy even from far off, that father RAN-likely in furious, desperate pursuit--to get to his son. I bet there were relieved sobs and screams of joy. If it was anything like the reunion I had with my daughter in my dream, there were. And then, the celebration feast with shouts of "My son was lost, but now he is found!"

I'll be sitting in church in a few hours, among a bunch of other "found" folk. I'm not saying we're found nor saved just by occupying a seat in a church on Sunday, but it's safe to say that later on today I'll be surrounded by the "found." It's easy to forget that while our God has celebrated us returning to Him, there are still many who are lost. And the fate of those apart from Christ is even more devastating than the potential fate of a child wandering between two freeways. I can't get out of my mind the desperation of the heart of God to draw them to Himself, and have them return home. The invitation has been sent, a place has been made for them--and now they can either choose or not choose to come home. But let it be clear--He has made a way for His children to come home.

And now I have a greater understanding of how He feels about those who are still out there lost.

"Some" saved isn't "Enough" saved. Following the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18, Jesus said this:

In the same way, your Father in Heaven
is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:14

And so this morning as many of us go and surround ourselves with the rest of the "found," let us remember those who are still out there lost. Pray for them by name, that they will be restored to the Father, and consider how great the rejoicing will be when they do.


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