As I get to know God more and more, I am pushed beyond my previous limits regarding what I thought about his character and who he is. As he shows me a clearer view of himself, I am completely shocked and awed by him time and again. Not in a bad way, mind you, but in a “Wow, I was really putting some major limits on who I thought you were, and what I believed you were capable of” kind of way.
The Bible tells us that God can do more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever it is that I can dream up in my finite mind, he can infinitely surpass it and blow my mind. Recently, with this in mind, I have come to believe some things about God.
Remember the story of the lost sheep? (Luke 15:1-7) Jesus told this parable to a group of “sinners” and church people gathered around. The church people were none too happy that the “sinners” were in such close proximity to them, and that, furthermore, Jesus didn’t seem all that bothered at having them hanging around. Don’t you just love that? Church people.
In telling this story, Jesus was trying to teach those church folks a thing or two about the heart of God. While God loves his found children, he will leave them high and dry to go find the lost one. He won’t even make sure the ninety-nine found sheep are safely tucked away from potential harms while he goes off in search of the lost one. No, Jesus specifically says that the Sheppard leaves the ninety-nine in an open field. I pondered this idea for a while. A long while.
Here’s the thing. God is more concerned about his lost ones, than he is about his found ones. Let that sink in. I didn’t say that he doesn’t love his found ones. He most certainly does, but he is more concerned about the lost ones. When I took that thought, and paired it with Romans 8:28, I got this:
I often wonder about a particular situation in which I find myself. On the one hand the situation blesses me, while on the other, it truly confounds me. On the days when the confounded outweighs the blessing, I ask the Lord what he has in mind there. I think of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt who cried out to God for hundreds of years, asking for his intervention. It took quite a while for Moses to be born, float down that river, be swept up by Pharaoh’s daughter, grow up in the palace, kill an Egyptian, run away and hide, then to come back and lead his people out of Egypt. The Israelites had a long wait. Four hundred years or so, actually.
So I recently asked the Lord, “What’s the deal here?” I think he showed me the lengths he will travel to rescue one of his lost ones.
Four years ago my husband resigned his church position under a great deal of turmoil. It was the right thing to do, but it left him unemployed for a time. Eventually, he took another position in a far off place that, quite frankly, pretty nearly destroyed our family.
We managed to narrowly escape that situation and move back to my hometown, the place we met and married. But once again, we had no gainful employment. It would be many lean months before my husband found another job, and I would go through great pains before finding one in my field of nursing practice…
…Where I would meet someone I’ll call “Susan”. Susan is far from God. She doesn’t really know just how far, but she is, and God is “desperately seeking Susan”. I cross paths with Susan on a very regular basis and we talk about God sometimes. One confounding day recently when I asked God, “What’s the deal?” I got a one-word answer.
And then I asked the question. Could it be possible that everything I had been through the previous four years was all so that I could now cross paths with Susan, and be able to talk to her about Jesus and how much he loves her?
You doubt his extravagance? You doubt the lengths he is willing to go? Remember the flood? The cross? He is willing to give up everything.
How cool is it to think that we serve a God willing to do whatever it takes to get to us? Even if it means sacrificing the other sheep out in that open field. As one of the “other sheep” who feels kind of sacrificed some days, I am happy to know he was willing to go that extra mile for me, once upon a time, when I was the lost one.
I just hope he finds Susan soon, and that she finds him back. I am a tired sheep…