In the gospel of Luke: Chapter 15 (see below) there are two stories dealing with lost things. In both stories the lost objects are pursued “UNTIL” they are found. At first glance this does not impress us because:
1. our ability to search is finite
2. our stuff is diminishing in value.
3. We eventually trade our affections for other things. These three points can make Luke 15 sorta boring.
However, if we understand “lost” does not refer to stuff, but rather to One’s Heart/Soul/Mind, then amazement begins to rise. Awe comes when we consider:
1.the infinite God pursuing our
2.eternally valuable souls
3.with an unceasing love.
(kinda wonderful and scary at the same time)
Personally, I long to be loved with such relentlessness. Unfortunately my cynicism rises and I wonder when I will discover love’s boundary. Just how far is GOD willing to love me? What if he finds out that I have doubts/fears? Will he shine a light on a part of my heart and say “Enough!?” So, in the fear of being seen and rejected, I hide. I fear that disclosing a talent or scar will only magnify the pain and yield no sanctuary. “I put that skeleton in the closet for a reason!” I want to Hide and Go, but please don’t seek.
The truth is, at times I resent the painful loving pursuit of my heart. I feel like the hunted man in Frances Thompson’s famous poem “the Hound of Heaven”.
And now my heart is as a broken fount, Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever from the dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be? The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?Francis Thompson - The Hound of Heaven (line 140)
Christ is seeking both our souls as well as every little portion of our personhood. God’s love for us does not end at Salvation. It continues on into every corner of our lives, even the hidden areas (UNTIL HE FINDS IT). This is the hard part! God is not simply seeking the broken pieces, He is seeking the proper restoration of our whole self. This means God’s love reshapes our emotions, time, treasure and more! This can be very painful, but in the end delightful.
All which I took from thee I did but take, Not for thy harms, But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake, fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all, Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He Whom thou seekest!’Francis Thompson - The Hound of Heaven
Amazingly, the unearthing of my doubt/fear/shame/etc. does not result in abandonment, But His rejoicing!? How deep, wonderful and mysterious are his mercies! God’s grace is larger than my capacity to measure it. Through mercy He chases me down from independence and through pain and joy shepherds my tender heart. (Here is the passage from Luke I have referenced.)
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his 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 need no repentance.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”Luke 15:3-10