We represent the lost sheep—departed from God, on our own, outside of community, far from the protection and care of the Shepherd. But the Shepherd we strayed from doesn't deal with us like we ought to be or even think we might be. When He discovers us there is great joy. Even though He has been searching for us and it has cost Him much, He does not hit us or act out in frustration, but rather He responds with great joy. He doesn’t drag us back to the other sheep, muttering and complaining, rather He puts us on His shoulders and carries us joyfully. What a beautiful picture for us.
How many times have we thought God was mad at us? Perhaps during this Human series and devotionals we could ask the Father to reshape our thoughts and perception of Him to match the parable of the gracious Shepherd—or other figures who are represented in these beautiful stories of grace. Instead of thinking that He is upset, we see a smile from God. Instead of wrath, we see the grace of God at work in our lives. Instead of distance, we see the closeness of the love of God. He is our great Shepherd, and when we’re lost, it’s His joy to find us.
How often do we think we’ve made it back on our own—to church or into relationship with His family? Perhaps it was His grace carrying us on His shoulders? Perhaps He has been carrying us more than we realize? We thought we made it back in our own strength but really it was His strength that carried us back into purpose, life and love.
The rejoicing of the shepherd over our lives is so great that He lets others know; even while He is carrying us, He begins to tell friends and neighbors to rejoice with Him. For what was lost is now found.
The grace of Jesus in this encounter with us is far greater than we could ever imagine. Maybe our humanity has been lost, maybe our identity—who we think we are—is in disrepair, and as a result we think Jesus is somehow inconvenienced by our lostness. But let it sink in deeply today: it was His joy to search for us, it was His joy to find us, it was His joy to carry us back, and He now tells all of heaven that it’s time to rejoice—for He is found what which was lost, us!
// Pastor Josh Kelsey