You may be familiar with an old story about how Jesus is our shepherd. And a good shepherd, when one sheep is lost, will leave the other 99 and go in pursuit to find the lost sheep. As I read yesterday, a thought struck me. I have been that one.
There was a time in my life and probably a time in yours when I felt certain that God has left me. My life was a mess, I couldn't feel His presence, I was alone. As I read the story about the one sheep that He went in search of I realized, He hadn't left me, I had left Him. Now, before you think further, I already knew I was the one that had walked away. That part wasn't new to me. But the thoughts that followed were. I had turned away from God. I had put my earbuds in my ears and cranked up the volume on the ipod. I couldn't hear Him because I wasn't listening. I couldn't feel Him because I was dead inside.
And as I look back, I can see His pursuit. He was pursuing me. I couldn't hear or see or feel Him and didn't want to and yet, He pursued me. I was the one lost sheep and He would do anything to bring me back. There were people that He put in my life that He used as His hands. I didn't recognize them as Jesus at the time, but that's who they were. Someone who, seeing I had a crying baby and a cart full of groceries, let me go in front of them in line. Someone who offered to buy me a cup of coffee and offered a shoulder to lean on. Someone who spoke words of comfort, encouragement and strength and yet didn't preach at me. Someone who called just to say "I've missed seeing you". These people were all Jesus. They showed me His love, His kindness, His forgiveness, His comfort. He pursued me.
Today, I am far from where I was back then, but I'm sure you know there are always those days. I am starting to feel a little worn down and getting a little sick and it began to distract me. I started thinking things like, "really, I'm getting sick again!". I started to feel discouraged. And I tried to pull up my boot straps and get back on track. When suddenly, there was a knock at the door. When I answered I saw a bouquet of flowers sitting on my porch with a thank you card unsigned. The love of Jesus went straight to my soul. I don't know who they were from, or what I had done to deserve a thank you card, let alone flowers, but they came at a time when I needed some encouragement. He pursued me.
Each week Pastor Chris tells us to go out and "Be the life of Jesus to our world". We are to do that because God is in pursuit of someone who has wandered away from the flock. Maybe they've wandered far, maybe they just got a little distracted, but He wants to use us to pursue them.
Thanks for listening.
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