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He Wants Us Back

posted Nov 18, 2014, 1:55 PM by Kelly Griffin   [ updated Nov 18, 2014, 1:56 PM ]
Some comic once said, “I never liked hide-and-seek since the time I hid in the closet and my family moved.” That kind of rejection could scar someone for life!

Far better the excitement of a rowdy six-year-old who came running home after his first day of school and burst through the doors shouting, "Mom, Mom! Guess what? They want me back!" A novel experience!

Everyone wants to be wanted. Psychologists tell us that every human is driven by the need to love and be loved. That’s what makes two parables in Luke 15 so compelling. In the first there is a lost sheep, and in the second there is a lost coin. In both cases, the person who lost something is desperate to get it back.

The shepherd leaves ninety-nine sheep behind to find the single one who is lost. He has a driving desire to have that one little lamb back. And when he finds it, he carries it home. No walking back for this little guy. The shepherd does it all.

That’s a picture, of course, of a heavenly Father who wants his lost sheep back. Who are the lost sheep? All of us. Some may be worse than others from a human perspective, but God clearly indicates that “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Rom 3:10-11). We may think we seek for God, but we seek a God of our own definition – a tame God – a God in our image.

So if anyone is to be found, God must do the looking. And He does. He wants us back. And when He finds us, if we will throw ourselves on His mercy, He takes us all the way home. No walking for us. We’d never get there, much as we might think we can. Salvation is all by Him; none by us.

But the main point of these parables is even better yet. We’re told that once he finds the lost sheep the shepherd lays it on his shoulder “rejoicing.” Then he invites his friends, “Rejoice with me.” Jesus further tells us in Luke 15:7, “. . . there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” In context, the 99 are those who think they are righteous and therefore refuse to repent. But over the one who does – what rejoicing!

The same thing happens with the woman who finds her coin. She also invites her friends, “Rejoice with me.” And Jesus makes application by saying in verse 10, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Please note that while the angels may be rejoicing, the passage actually says “there is joy before the angels.” Who would that be? It can be none other than the Good Shepherd who is rejoicing most of all over one lost sheep who turns to Him in faith. It reminds one of Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

I think it’s safe to say, if you feel unwanted anywhere else in the world, you are desperately wanted by the One who counts most.

An old couple named Sean and Bridget had been seeing each other for 40 years when Sean suddenly turned to Bridget one day as they were walking together and said, “You know, Bridget, maybe we should get married.” Bridget replied, “At our age, Sean, who would have us?”

Do you wonder who would have you? God would. He created you. He let you go. And now He wants you back! The question is will you be found? That’s up to you.

Published in The Tribune on November 15th, 2014.