I would like to say that I have never wandered from the side of Jesus my Good Shepherd. I have always been a good and faithful member of His flock. I have stayed close and always come when He calls. I would like to say that, but it would be a lie. I have wandered long and far and found myself in some very scary, ugly places. I am so thankful that my Shepherd comes looking for me. Every time.
Jesus told a parable about a lost sheep and a shepherd. He said that when a shepherd loses a sheep, he will leave all his other sheep and “go after the lost sheep until he finds it” (Luke 15:4). And when he finds it, he scolds it and berates it all the way back home. He sends the little sheep to her room and tells all his friends how stupid and rebellious the sheep is. NO! “He joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep” (Luke 15:5-6).
Some of us wanderers think of the Lord in the first example. Yes, Jesus will come looking for me, but when He finds me there’s going to be heck to pay. I don’t see that anywhere in this parable. In fact, I don’t see that anywhere in Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation God is a seeking-the-lost, forgiving-the-rebel, celebrating-the-return Father. Hear this loud and clear, God doesn’t rescue you and me begrudgingly or with even a trace of anger or impatience. David said, “He rescued me because he delighted in me” (Ps 18:19). Did you see how Jesus described the shepherd? “He JOYFULLY puts the sheep on his shoulders.” God loves to rescue His little lambs.
You and I are never going to get through this life without needing to be rescued. Most of the time we don’t intend to wander off, we’re just grazing and not paying attention to where the lush grass is taking us. Beloved, if you find yourself far from your Shepherd’s side today, be assured that He is coming to find you – not to punish or berate you, but to put you on His shoulders and celebrate you home!
Even the black sheep.