"If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?" ~Matthew 18:12 NKJV
Growing up in church, the story of the shepherd with the lost sheep is a familiar one. So, too, are the images of the shepherd returning to the flock carrying the lost lamb across his shoulders.
But why did Jesus tell the story in the first place? To illustrate the amazing love God has for us. You see. God is like the shepherd who seeks and saves those who are lost.
Like the not-so-bright species of sheep, we've wandered off into dangerous territory. But does our shepherd let us go, hoping we'll learn a valuable lesson? No. He pursues us. And when He finds us, does He scold and nag and punish? No. He carries us back to safety and sets us down on the correct path again.
Have I ever gotten off track in life? You bet. Have I suffered the natural consequences of being lost out in the cold and dark? Yep. And have I experienced the amazing warmth of being pursued, loved, healed, and carried home? Absolutely.
Do I sometimes forget and wander off again? Unfortunately. But I'm so thankful that God is like the shepherd in the story and keeps coming after me.
What about you? Have you ever strayed from truth and gotten lost? Have you experienced God as the loving Shepherd?