I once was lost but now am found

Last week while running errands I was asked to show my driver’s license. I looked in my wallet but did not see it.  Carefully going through each compartment I still could not find it. On the way home I tried to retrace in my mind steps from the past week. I had a nagging memory of removing the license because I was not going to take a bulky wallet or purse. I checked my camera case from the Farmville Central volleyball game and called two stores to make sure they had not ended up with it after an identification check. I searched through bills and papers.  Going to bed for several nights it weighed on me as to where the thing possibly could be.

It is not that going to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Greenville is so incredibly horrible, but it is often a nuisance.  I really did not want it to come to that. A few mornings later it was cool so I grabbed a fleece jacket for a walk. In the zipped pocket I felt something. It was a bank envelope with cash and my driver’s license. Then I remembered walking downtown the week before to make a deposit.

The relief and gratitude I felt for days ran deep.  It brought to mind a parable told by Jesus.  “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 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; 8-10)

Philip Yancey writes “I have meditated enough on Jesus’ stories of grace to let their meaning filter through me. Still, each time I confront their astonishing message I realize how thickly the veil of ungrace obscures my view of God. A housewife jumping up and down in glee over the discovery of a lost coin is not what naturally comes to mind when I think of God. Yet that is the image Jesus insisted upon.

The story of the Prodigal Son, after all, appears in a string of three stories by Jesus – the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son – all of which seem to make the same point. Each underscores the loser’s sense of loss, tells of the thrill of rediscovery, and ends with a scene of jubilation. Jesus says in effect, ‘Do you want to know what it feels like to be God? When one of those two-legged humans pays attention to me, it feels like I just reclaimed my most valuable possession, which I had given up for lost.’ To God himself, it feels like the discovery of a lifetime.”

Henri Nouwen puts it this way. “God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end, nor because thousands of people have been converted and are now praising him for his goodness. No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found.”

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