Luke 15:3-7 – “And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
Well, I had a first yesterday. I was driving down a busy interstate when I saw police lights flashing in my rear view. So, I slowed down and pulled over a bit. I knew they weren’t after me because they hadn’t been tailing me for a while. And then all of the sudden, vroom! A car speeds past me doing at least 90-95 mph. And then here comes Mr. Policeman, vroom! Right on that car’s tail. It was a high speed chase! They were weaving in and out of traffic just like something from a movie! It was crazy!
Now, I know what you are thinking, “Seriously, Melissa. You chose a verse about sheep.” Well, as I was running this scenario over and over in my head, I asked God, “Okay, so what do you want me to do with this?” You see, I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe I have a lesson to learn in every event that occurs in my life. So, what is the lesson here that I learned?
We all mess up sometimes. We all find ourself far from the fold from time to time. It’s the nature of the sin inside of us. And God understands that. He know that from time to time, He is going to have to chase us down and bring us back. Sometimes that chase is a simple one like a shepherd searching out a sheep. And sometimes, it becomes a high speed chase where we are running with wreck less abandon toward an unknown destination. When this situation presents itself, we put others in danger. In our selfishness, we fail to see the potential for harm to others. But God is faithful and He will turn on the warning lights for us to see, if we are aware. Sometimes we can help the person making the bad choices and sometimes we just need to get out of the way and let God take care of things.
Either way, when the chase is over and we have decided to return to the fold, there is great rejoicing. Forgiveness has been doled out and hugs are in order. That is the beauty of being a child of God – forgiveness. And not just forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, but forgiveness from our brothers and sisters here on earth. It makes my heart sing and rejoice when someone I know who has made some poor decisions and is in the midst of consequences decides to seek forgiveness because I have already forgiven them. In my mind, I have forgiven a long time ago. They just needed to ask. We say our forgiveness words and then move on to loving them through the consequences. And that, in and of itself, can be a beautiful thing.
This is what God taught me in this scenario. I know, my mind is a crazy place.
It makes me smile to think about the rejoicing in heaven over someone coming back after they have made the choice to wander off. God always rejoices when we choose Him. It’s just especially sweet when we choose to come back.