Thursday, August 25, 2011

Of sheep

When thinking back to some of the darker times of my life, I hear this phrase in my head:

In my despair, I didn't find God. He found me.

When I was 16, I was living alone in an apartment in Redondo Beach.  I'd moved out of my parent's house and they'd moved to Kentucky.  It was a rather lonely time for me, and depression was a constant problem.  I'm going to shy away from the details of that time except to say that I was certainly at my lowest, and I was considering terrible options.

Looking back, I can clearly see that He reached into my life to bring me out of my despair.  It was unasked for, and surprising, considering my ignorance of all things spiritual. I did not seek him, but still he saved me.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Luke 11:9

So, I get that if I search for Him, I will find him. But, how is it that I didn't seek him, yet I found him? How is it that I'd lost myself, yet he cared enough to search for me? In my ignorance, and often willful denial of him, why would he seek ME.

The parable of the lost sheep provides some insight.

‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’” - Luke 15: 3-7

As do the Psalms.

"I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." - Psalm 33:18, 20

"The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father." - Psalm 32:10-11

He Loves us. He searches for us. He Yearns for us.

"He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of
His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me. " - David Crowder "How he Loves Us"

And so he reaches out.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal." - John 3:16

"And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those who are lost. " - Luke 19:10

"For people can't come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me" - John 6:44

Even when we again stray, he comes back and beckons us. I found this poem from the 17th century that I really love:

"Love bade me welcome;
yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack,
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd worthy to be here.
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungratefull? Ah my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat." - George Herbert

Where would I be if God hadn't found me that fateful night?