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Finding Fred and All the Lost

I’d like to introduce a guest post by Suzanne Cotter. She’s a good friend who provided early advice on the development of When she read a pre-publication version of last week’s post – The Prodigal in All of Us – she wanted to emphasize a different message. God doesn’t just wait for us to come home – as the prodigal’s father did. God also is relentless in seeking out the lost!

Thanks, Suzanne! I hope you enjoy her post . . .

Finding Fred and All the Lost

I’ve worked in senior living for several years now. I’ve met with countless families and have been lucky enough to hear their stories, celebrate with them through the wins, and support them through the heartache. Many stand out to me, but an afternoon meeting with a sweet man named Fred will always stay with me.

I met Fred as I was helping him find a community for his wife who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I spent my time with him as we looked around the building and carefully picked out the best room for his wife. I tried to answer every question and soothe every concern that he had. At the end of our visit, Fred told me he had one more question and very quietly asked me if I believed in Jesus. When I told him that I did, he went on to tell me that he just found and surrendered his life to Christ. In his words, he had “been running away from God for 86 years, and He finally caught me.” After my time with Fred, I couldn’t help but to think about what a message he had for so many people. What a beautiful reminder that God has not and will never give up on us.

There are many stories and parables in the Bible that God uses to help us understand just how vast His love is for us. Tim’s recent BLOG focused on the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-37) It’s worth noting that Jesus told two more parables before that one. While the parables are different, the themes are very similar. A cherished thing is lost, it is relentlessly sought after, and finding it is joyfully celebrated. In Luke 15:4-7, Jesus talks to us about a Shepherd that leaves his ninety-nine sheep to find the one that went astray.

Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the
ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he
has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls
together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: “Rejoice with me, for I have found my
sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner
who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.
(Luke 15: 4-7)

We have a Father that is both patiently waiting for us to repent and desperately seeking us out. He quietly knocks on the door to our hearts and kicks it in to get our attention. He leaves the flock to find us and rejoices when He does. A love like this doesn’t even seem fathomable, but
from cover to cover the Bible depicts a God who is graciously pursuing us. From Genesis when He seeks Adam and Eve after they have sinned to sending His one and only Son to die for us, God has been after our hearts since the beginning of time. God seeks to win the affection of our
hearts by relentlessly and faithfully pursuing us. We were carefully and lovingly created by an exceptional God.

There’s a great worship song that we sing in church called “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. I think it’s the perfect depiction of God’s love for us. When asked about why he wrote the song, Cory said:

The word “reckless” does not refer to God Himself; the God we are serving is not
reckless. However, it refers to the God who loves us. If you try to consider what He did
on the cross, He is utterly not concerned with the consequences of His actions in regard
to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. He is so in love with you and me that He
came to earth to show how much He is willing to sacrifice just to have you back in His
arms. His love isn’t selfish, and He is never self-serving. He would offer His life to give
us the freedom that we don’t deserve. His love leaves the ninety-nine just to find the one
who went astray.

If there is one thing that I am confident of, it’s that regardless of how we find God or how He finds us, the celebration in heaven is equally as joyful. How amazing is it to think that the Lord of the universe – the same God who painted the stars in the sky and filled the oceans – would do all of this just to have a loving and lasting relationship with us. With you and me. For as long as you are breathing, He will never give up in His pursuit. There’s no sin too big, no valley too low, or mountain too high that it will ever be able to separate us from our God.

I left my meeting with Fred tear-filled and grateful for the love and hope that I have in Christ. No age is too late to find Jesus, but I would also argue that no age is too soon. I pray that wherever you are in your faith and life right now, that you will know you are deeply loved, cherished,
sought after. Most importantly, I hope you know that you are forgiven and saved.