For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10
I have recently come to the undeniable and somewhat painful conclusion that there is a positive correlation between one’s age and the amount of time spent looking for lost objects. Today, this was absolutely confirmed when I was looking in every pocket and crevice of my large handbag for my cell phone ultimately finding it was in my hand the whole time! If we were competing, I think that this would trump my aging friends who look for eye glasses only to find them on their head! It seems I am always praying to God to help me find something these days. I used to think this was sacrilegious until I happened upon a little passage in the Bible, which is now one of my favorite portions of scripture.
In 2 Kings 6:1-7, the Students of Elisha were constructing a school for prophets. When one among them was cutting down a tree, the iron axe head he was using fell into the waters of the Jordan. The man cried out to Elisha, “Oh no, it was borrowed!” Elisha asked the man where it fell into the water. Then with the power of God, he threw a cut stick in the vicinity and miraculously the iron axe head floated to the surface. I marvel at the inclusion of this passage into scripture and glean from it that God is concerned about the little things that matter to us. We see this again in the story of Saul, who was searching for lost donkeys. (1 Samuel 9:1-20) In God’s providence, Saul’s search led him to Samuel who would anoint him as King. But the lost donkeys were important enough to God that he revealed their whereabouts to the prophet, Samuel, and put Saul’s mind at ease. In the New Testament, we are even commanded to ask God for help in these matters. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)
I could tell you many stories of how God helped me find lost items, but none are as mind-blowing as the time I lost the diamond from my wedding band set. Years ago, we had a yellow Labrador Retriever named Sandy. She was a very loving dog, but because of our circumstances, we were not able to take the time to properly train her. As a result, she would overpower with slobbery kisses anyone who entered our backyard. It wasn’t too bad when she was small, but as she grew, her affection could easily knock a child over. One afternoon before our company arrived for a BBQ, I went into the backyard to chain up Sandy. She came bounding towards me and we tasselled until I managed to reach for her collar and hook her up to her chain. I went back into the house to wash my hands and noticed the diamond from my wedding band was missing. I frantically searched all over the part of the yard where we had wrestled, which was covered with red lava landscape rocks. Nothing! For days I would go out there searching through the rocks always finding nothing. I remember feeling silly when one night I asked our Bible Study group to pray that I would find the diamond, but I didn’t care. I was desperate to find the diamond. (For the record, it wasn’t anything flashy, it was very modest and its value was purely sentimental. Newly out of Bible college, my husband had sacrificed greatly to come up with the $485 for both the engagement ring and the wedding band. The price makes us laugh today.) About a month after I lost the diamond, I was in the side yard taking out the trash when I just happened to look down at something glaring. There in the middle of one of the stepping-stones surrounded by the red lava rock, sat my little diamond. Unbelievable! It was not there before! I had combed over the entire area not to mention the crazy dog had traipsed all over that yard for an entire month. This was a miracle I tell you!
Well, you are probably wondering, what spiritual or eternal significance does this post have. Let me tell you. Very recently after losing something insignificant and asking God to help me locate it, fully believing that He would, I received a Rhema word from God. I felt God was telling me it was time to have faith for bigger, more important things to be found. I knew exactly what He meant. For some time, I had struggled with praying and believing for the salvation of those friends and relatives closest to me. In my mind, I would argue with myself, that the Holy Spirit will not go against their free will. I would then counter back, with the story of the Apostle Paul’s conversion and the scripture, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.(2 Timothy 1:12 KJV) In the New International Version it says, “and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” I had entrusted my loved ones to Him, but truthfully, I was not convinced. I did not have the assurance that God would answer my prayers for my “lost” loved ones. But that day, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that if he cared enough to help me find my diamond which has no eternal value, how much more would he hear my prayers for the eternal souls of those infinately more dear to me and to Him. Always wanting to confirm what I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to me with what His written word says, I was moved when soon after this encounter I came across these verses in Ezekiel.
“I will tend my sheep and have them lie down,” declares the Sovereign Lord. “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak… I will shepherd the flock with justice.” (Ezekiel 34:15-16)
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.” (Ezekiel 34:21-22)
I absolutely love this picture, The Lost Sheep by Tim Hyde.
If you have been praying for loved ones, don’t give up. If you need to be encouraged in this area, please take the time to read this account of the Hound of Heaven by Greg Herrick (CLICK HERE) and check out the Bible Study, Lost and Found, located at the end of this post. The whole reason Jesus came was to seek and to save the lost! LH
“O God, we entrust all who are dear to us
to Thy never-failing care and love, for this
life and the life to come, knowing that Thou art
doing for them better things than
we can desire or pray for.”
Book of Common Prayer
(Many of the posts on this website are accompanied by a Bible Study broken up into 5 days. The Study is designed to take you no more than 10 minutes each day. For a printable copy of this Bible study CLICK HERE.)
Lost And Found
Day 1 Read 2 Kings 6:1-7
I just love that our amazing God included this passage in His word to us!
- Why do you think God included this in scripture?
- What is the most precious thing you have ever lost and then found again?
Day 2 Read 1 Samuel 9:1-20
In this passage we see that sometimes God uses our loss for a bigger purpose.
- What did Saul’s father send him to do?
- What did the servant encouraged Saul to do?
- What do you think this passage tells us about God?
Day 3 Read Luke 15:1-7; Ezekiel 34:15-16, 21-22
The interpretation of the passages we will read in Luke 15 for the next three days depends on verses 1 and 2.
- Who was attracted to Jesus in verses 1 and 2? Does this surprise you?
- What was the reaction of the religious leaders to Jesus’ associations?
- How many sheep did the man in this parable have? How many did he leave behind?
- Name two things that you find striking about this passage?
- What analogy is used to describe God in these passages?
Day 4 Read Luke 15:8-10
This parable is clearly linked to the parable of the lost sheep.
- How many coins did the woman lose?
- In what manner does she look for what is missing?
- What does the fact that she got a lamp to help her search tell us about her determination?
Day 5 Read Luke 15:11-32
In this parable of the prodigal son, we see even a greater glimpse of God’s grace than in the previous passages.
- What did the younger son ask his father to give him.
- What made the younger son want to go back to his father?
- Have you ever wandered so far from God that you thought he wouldn’t welcome you back
- List at least four things the father did to show his love for the returning son?
- How has this study encouraged you to pray for the lost?