Lost and found boxes never cease to amaze me. Scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, jackets, bathing suits, swim towels, umbrellas, and baseball gloves are some of the items that I've seen in these boxes in different locations. Such an assortment of lost items — yet no one ever seems to claim any of them. Many things are lost but never found.
This is so very different from three well-known stories that Jesus told.
A man has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. He leaves the ninety-nine and goes and searches for the lost sheep until he finds it. Then he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep." (Luke 15:6b NIV)
A woman has ten silver coins and loses one. She lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and searches carefully until she finds it. When she does, she calls her friends and neighbours and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin." (Luke 15:9b NIV)
A man has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance and goes to a far-off country and squanders all of it. When he is hired to feed pigs, he realizes that he would be better off as a servant in his father's house than eating the pods that the pigs eat, and he heads back home. When his father sees him coming, he runs to him and hugs him and kisses him and prepares a feast to celebrate the return of his son. To his angry older son, the father says, "We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15:32 NIV)
Most items stay in lost and found boxes for only a certain amount of time, and then, the items are either given away or disposed of.
How blessed we are that our Father in heaven is like the man, the woman, and the father in these three stories. We stray away from Him and are lost, but God loves us and never gives up searching for us until we are found! We are never tossed away or forgotten about, even when we lose our way or turn our backs on Him.
When we have been lost and are found again, there is great rejoicing!
"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10 NIV)
- Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
– John Newton
Each of us is lost until God finds us. If you are feeling lost or have turned your back on God, it is never too late to repent and be found by Him. He is calling. He is waiting.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we're so very glad that You love us and that You don't give up on us when we get lost or turn our backs on You. We come to You now with repentant hearts and seek Your forgiveness. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.