Our house sits in the middle of some fairly dense woods. We call it “The Homestead” and with five children, it’s offered up a haven for every kind of fort building activities you can imagine over the years. One afternoon, our son called to me, “Mom, we can’t find Emma. She was just here.”
She’s my baby, our fifth child, so I didn’t bat an eye. Children hide and I assured him of that reality, but then one minute led to two and two to ten, and in the span of those brief six hundred seconds, my heart expanded with love, desperation, and heartache in ways I didn’t know possible. You see, there’s a creek that runs beyond our property and while she’d never wandered that far before, my mind immediately went to the possibility of what might happen if I didn’t bring her home first. I never knew my legs could run so fast.
With dogged determination, I pursued, chased, shouted, cried, examined every inch of our woods, and inevitably threw myself in a bit of full blown panic for good measure. I would not stop until she was found.
Is your heartbeat rising as you read this? Do you understand the emotions of that pursuit? You’ve probably been there before.
We finally found her. She was hiding. As a game, she’d chosen to conceal herself amidst the thick foliage and refused to answer us when we called. This momma was not a happy camper, but when I found her, when her precious face met mine, her sin, her foolish choice did not matter one bit to me in the moment. And while there were later consequences in hopes she would not consider that choice again, the relief I experienced and my love for her only knew one thing: my momma’s heart would have done anything necessary to find her and bring her home.
As I read the parables in Luke 15, I’m reminded that God loves us so desperately that no matter what our past choices, He will storm the gates of heaven and never stop looking until He finds us. He will rejoice, celebrate and welcome us with a fierce intensity.
It’s nearly impossible to wrap my mind around the reality that my desperate longing to find our daughter was only a small microcosm in comparison to His pursuit and desire to belong with us. The enormity of how He loves us, protects us, pursues, welcomes, and seeks us out are so much more than we can imagine.
In the story of the one lost sheep we’re reminded of this:
What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep.”
Luke 15:4–6 (CSB)
Are we willing to leave our comfort and complacency to create new community? What would it look like if we pursued and sought out just one struggling woman this week? Who needs to be showered with our tangible love and attention? Christ’s abundance in our lives is astonishing, and we all desire to be on the receiving end of His love, but today, let’s walk out that love and live in response to who He is in our lives.
Pursue, seek, welcome, invite, initiate: these fleshed-out actions reflect the heart of the gospel. As we allow our love to be a natural overflow of His presence and great love for us, we are granted the opportunity to be part of His divine plan in making God known.
Can you even believe that? What an honor. Let’s walk it out today.
God will storm the gates of heaven and never stop looking until He finds us. - @beautyandbedlam: Click To Tweet