6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” Luke 15:6 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I’ve had a very stressful week. And it was all from the sort of problem that the Apostle Paul never had. I lost a very important computer file this week. Somehow it got deleted from my computer. Actually, it wasn’t a computer file at all that went missing—it was a computer folder. This particular folder contained all the work I’ve done for my Latin classes for the past two years. It contained 949 files and 257 sub-folders. Two years of tedious, grueling labor, lost forever. Ouch.
In between my other tasks at the office, I spent every spare moment I had looking for the aforementioned file. I frantically searched the refuse of my “Recycle Bin” to no avail. I asked advice from computer experts, who told me all the places I should be able to locate it. It wasn’t in any of them. I got the business-computer teacher to come and help me search the hidden files of the inner recesses of my CPU. We came up with nothing.
I was overcome with a conflicting array of feelings. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find this file that should be there. I was furious with myself for not backing the file up. I felt like shedding tears over the loss of my work which now I would have to duplicate. I was aggravated at the amount of time I was wasting when I could have been doing something more constructive. I had a headache and heartburn.
But later on in the week, I had an idea. It was kind of like a single beam of light from Heaven parting the clouds and touching my shiny, bald head. I realized there was one more place I could search. Last Spring, I won a door prize at a teachers’ meeting I’d attended—a “thumb drive” advertising a local community college. Had I perchance taken the time to back up this file on the tiny memory stick? With shaking hands, I inserted the data chip into my computer’s USB port. I hit the F5 key and waited….and waited….and then SUCCESS! I was elated. The choirs of angels began to sing. The folder that once was lost, now was found.
There’s nothing more upsetting than trying to find something important that’s lost. And there’s nothing that brings more joy than the exhilaration that comes when the lost thing is found. It’s a joy we all understand—and a joy that the LORD understands, too.
Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) comes from Luke 15. In this chapter, Jesus tells three parables about the search for three things that are lost: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Now these stories really aren’t about animals, and money, and prodigal sons. These stories are about you. These stories are about your Heavenly Father, and how He is actively (and diligently) searching for you.
Have you ever searched for God? I know I have. It’s a common subject, and innumerable books have been written about “how you can find God.” But, in reality, the authors have it all backwards. You are not looking for God. The Bible says God is looking for you. He will search for you like a shepherd searches for a lost lamb. He will leave the 99 sheep that are there and go and frantically search for you. He will look for you like a bride looks for a lost coin (from her wedding day), sweeping and cleaning the house from top to bottom. He will search for you like a father searches for a wayward son. He will stand at the end of the driveway all day, hoping He will catch a glimpse of you coming home. And in every case, when He finds what He’s looking for—namely, you—well, then there’s great, great rejoicing.
I have a recommendation for your devotional reading for today. Take a little time to read these “lost and found” stories in the 15th chapter of Luke’s gospel. And slow down a little bit this week so the LORD can find you. You know He’s looking.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher is taking time to back up his computer files.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.