Photo Credit: Nathan Greene
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. Luke 15:3-7
Have you ever known the experience of being lost? I sure have. It can be at the least annoying and at the worst, terrifying. My dad was lost for hours on the eve of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When we lived in Cairo, Egypt, I had to fight fear of losing one of our children in the press of crowds. As a child myself, there was a life-defining moment when I understood that I was lost from God – separated from a holy God by my sin and rebellion. This I came to understand even as a nine-year-old.
Years later, as an adult in my 20’s, and living large pursuing professional success and personal gratification, I had another lonely experience of lostness. One night, after partying with friends, I was laying on my bed, wide awake. Something was troubling me (don’t remember now what it was), and I thought how I could sure use God’s help on this one. As I began to pray, it was like my words went up toward Heaven and then crashed back down, shattering into pieces. Not because I was lost from Him forever…but because I had wandered so far from Him, I was reminded of that terrible sense of being alone in the world. Alone in my sin… God had not moved from me…I had walked away from Him.
Photo Credit: Nathan Greene
That night, the urge to seek God’s help woke me up to the reality that I didn’t just need His help. I needed Him. Desperately. The thing I took to God was forgotten in my urgent desire to get rid of all the filth that I had allowed in my life separating me from Him. That night, God, in His supreme mercy, reminded me of what it was to be lost from Him and what it also was to be restored to Him…borne up on His shoulders and brought back into the fold of God.Photo Credit: BPNews
W. Spencer Walton, a businessman turned evangelist, wrote the lyrics to the song In Tenderness He Sought Me (1894). You can find the traditional song in the links below. We sang an updated version of it at Movement Church on Sunday. I wish I had a video of our worship team leading us, but the band Citizens & Saints adapted the old hymn to bless a new generation…and the updated version is also linked below.
Praise God, He seeks us lost sheep. Although He has all the flock in the fold…save one…He will seek that one. There was a time that one was me. I pray you have been found by the Shepherd…He is near.
Worship with me:
In tenderness he sought me, weary and sick with sin
And on His shoulders brought me, back to His fold again
While angels in His presence sang, until the courts of heaven rang.
Chorus: Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold of God
Grace that brought me to the fold of God.
He died for me while I was sinning, needy and poor and blind. He whispered to assure me: “I’ve found thee; thou art Mine”
I’ve never heard a sweeter voice; it made my aching heart rejoice.
Upon His grace I’ll daily ponder, and sing anew His praise
With all adoring wonder, His blessings I retrace
It seems as if eternal days are far too short to sing His praise.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:16-17