SECOND TUESDAY OF ADVENT
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 18:12-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
"What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."
It’s been so long.
I’m so alone.
Everything has gone so wrong. I never do anything right.
When I woke up today, I just wanted to make it through the day. I’m tired of getting yelled at. I’m confused about what I’m supposed to do to make things right. I can only see that dark night that seems to fall faster and faster on my day. And yet the next day happens.
I keep trying to find the right way. I keep making mistakes though. And every time, there’s someone there to tell me all about it. I don’t know how to change things. I don’t know how to stop the yelling.
Things used to be a whole lot easier. I used to get smiles. I used to laugh. Those days are so gone.
Things are so messed up. There’s been so many missed moments. It’s been one wasted day after the next.
This is a tough question: Have you ever felt this way?
Or maybe a tougher question: Have you ever felt like you inflicted this feeling on someone?
(Don’t dwell too much on the questions. Especially if it hurts. And if it does, quickly read on.)
Here comes the shepherd.
She’s been looking so long.
She left the rest days ago. Just to find me.
She picks up the crying mess that is me. She pulls the exhaustion of my body into her arms.
She’s crying. She’s shaking. She can’t believe she has me back.
She grips me like I’m her only possession. Tight. And doesn’t let go. Her arms are like clamps that keep pushing me closer to her heart.
We both are crying.
The shepherd has me back. Of course, I have always been as close to her heart as I am right now. She has not had a single second of lost love for me. And she will always come after me to show me. To hold me. To say she will never let me go. She will never not love me.
Here’s a good question now: When have you felt that loved?
Or maybe a better question: When have you been able to give that love?
God’s love doesn’t stop. God’s love will never go away. And God’s compassion doesn’t even care about your failings, your mistakes or your wrongs.
Let me put that another way to be totally clear.
God cares about you. God loves you. And no failings, mistakes or wrongs will EVER keep that love from clinching you closer and closer to God’s heart.
This is our God.
And for us who feel like we could never love like that. For us who feel like we’ve lost the one. For us who feel like that one is never coming back. Start searching now. Start putting on the love of God. Let your love never stop. Let God’s compassion take you over. That day you find the one is going to be the best day ever.
Where, in your life, do you need to feel the love of God? What will it take to let Him find you?
Who, in your life, needs to feel the love of God through you? What will it take for you to go after them and give that love?
Bryan Ramsey loves his wife, his family & his faith. As the youth minister at St. James in Menomonee Falls, he finds ways to draw people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.