Lost Lamb, Panicked Parent

Image by mskathrynne from Pixabay

“In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 15:7 NLT

My two-year-old son was missing. He’d climbed the back of the sofa in the downstairs family room and slipped out of an unscreened ground floor window while I washed windows upstairs and his older brother and sister, who were supposed to keep an eye on him, watched cartoons.

We lived at the edge of a small rural village on what used to be the family farm. Where could he be on this warm, spring afternoon? Traipsing in the acres of woods and overgrown fields? Climbing the high wall, a steep, dangerous cliff left from open-pit mining years ago? Exploring the barn filled with suffocating hay bales or the wagon shed with all its enticing tools and machines? I imagined a small body floating on the pond fifty yards away and felt panic rise like bile in my throat.

The world can be a dangerous place for a curious toddler. Fear clutched my heart and squeezed hard. I called around the neighborhood while Todd and Jaime began searching. A neighbor boy hopped on his four-wheeler.

I can’t remember how long we searched. I only remember praying, pleading with God to help us find him safe and sound. We did—between the back doors of his grandmother’s house next door. She wasn’t home, so no one heard his knocking or answered the phone when I called.

What relief and joy flooded me when they brought him through the door! I hugged him and kissed him and hugged him some more.

There’s nothing worse than not knowing where your children are. My children knew the degree of punishment was proportional to the degree of panic.

Unlike us, though, God doesn’t panic when His children wander off. He always knows exactly where they are and goes after them. Not with punishment in mind, but in love and concern. He knows it’s a mean, dangerous world out there.

And He never forces them to return against their will. Instead, He calls to them gently, softly whispering their names so they hear it deep in their souls. He arranges circumstances to get their attention.

Cecil Murphey, in his books The Relentless God and The God Who Pursues, describes his own wandering and how God sought him, found him, and brought him home. My own Uncle Nick woke up in a jail cell after a drinking bout and found the Shepherd waiting for him. He became a Baptist minister who eventually led several family members to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.

Sometimes God sends others to bring home His beloved children. My friend Melanie wrote a book called The Apostles He Sends, describing how God sent others to draw her back to her faith after more than three decades of running away.

He never stops caring. He never stops loving us. He never stops seeking us when we stray. So whether you or someone you love is the little lost lamb, be assured that God knows where His lost ones are—and He’s working on bringing them home.

Thank You for never letting me out of Your sight, Father, and thank You for bringing me home. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:3–7.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. To use, please contact me @ michelethuey@gmail.com for permission.

I Still Believe

Image by christels from Pixabay

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I trust.” –Psalm 91:2 NKJV

 One of our favorite movies is Beautiful Dreamer, the story of a World War II pilot who was shot down and captured by the enemy. He’d just married his childhood sweetheart when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and catapulted the US into the war. Patriotism exploded throughout the country, and Joe enlisted. Every morning as his company of pilots prepared for the day, they recited Psalm 91 as a group.

That was the first time I really took more than a passing interest in this psalm. Since then, I’ve read it over and over, in different Bible translations. I even attempted to memorize it, repeating several verses at night as I lay in bed so it would be the last thing on my mind before I fell asleep. A lady I know recites it every morning.

In these uncertain times, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading like wildfire and a roller coaster economy wreaking havoc around the globe, fear seems to be knocking on every door. I’m not going to tell you not to be afraid. None of us has ever experienced anything like this.

We have much to be concerned about, but we don’t have to let fear control us. As Paul wrote Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

I still believe in an omniscient, sovereign God. He’s not lost control. I believe He is working through this crisis to draw people closer to Him, to open their eyes and hearts. I pray that many will come to saving faith and a deeper faith.

I still trust Him to provide for me. I’m not afraid I won’t have enough because His Word says that God will supply everything I need – and not sparingly but generously, “according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). I don’t have to stockpile for fear I won’t have what I need when I need it. Jesus told us to put God first and strive for the attitude and character of God and “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). What things? Food, clothing, and, yes, even toilet paper.

I believe each day’s need will be met when it’s needed. Remember the Hebrews and the manna? God gave them just enough for each day, no more, no less. This same God will provide my daily bread.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow,” Jesus commands us, “for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Read Matthew 6:25–34.)

In these uncertain times, how can we keep fear at bay?

Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18). Take up the shield of faith (see Psalm 3:3) and wield sword of the Spirit (the Word of God and prayer).

Trust Him. “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” (Corrie ten Boom)

Use this sequestered time as a spiritual retreat. Read, meditate on, and study God’s Word. Read through the Psalms. Conduct a word study using a concordance. Start with the word trust and list verses that refer to trust. Write them out and read them frequently.

Or do a verse study, taking one verse apart. What does it say? What does it mean? What is God saying to you? How can you apply this to your life?

Keep a promise journal and list all the promises of God that you come across in your Bible reading and study.

Pray. Unceasingly. When you wake up through the night, banish worry with prayer. Prayer isn’t just a religious activity. It’s a relationship. (Henry Blackaby)

And finally, “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Corrie ten Boom)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)

Under Your wings, Lord, I find refuge from the fear that stalks my door. Thank you for being my shelter in this time of storm. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 91.

(c) 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.