If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? (vv.3-4).
Yesterday I lost my wedding ring. I was splashing about in a river when the wet band apparently slipped off my finger. I’m devastated. I can’t afford to replace what I lost, as the price of gold is at an all time high. But even as I’m feeling sorry for myself, I realize that I’ve lost only my wedding ring— many others have lost their marriages.
Some had spouses who set out in foolish, sinful quests to “find themselves.” Others lost their spouses to tragic accidents. One friend describes his wife’s head injury as the day he ‘lost’ her. She’s alive and functioning, but is no longer the person he married.
Many others have lost jobs—whether to redundancy or the fluctuations of a fickle economy—and even more have lost their health. Some days I look at my prayer list and I’m overwhelmed to realize that many friends and families are shouldering heavy burdens of tragic loss.
God has lost things too. Jesus told parables about a lost sheep (luke 15:4-7), lost coin (vv.8-10) and lost son (vv.11-32) to describe God’s compassion for lost people. God understands the anguish of losing something valuable, and the desperate, heart in your throat longing to have it back. He’s like the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to find the lost one (v.4), the woman who swept her entire house to find her coin (v.8) or the father staring out the window for the distant silhouette of his returning son (v.20).
How should we respond to our loss? We should unashamedly grieve for what we have lost and may never have again (ecclesiastes 3:4). But we grieve in hope, knowing that—in ways we cannot comprehend—all things will be made right when Jesus returns. And so we pray with all the saints, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (revelation 22:20).
Read revelation 21:1-5 to learn how God will make all things new when Jesus returns.
Make a list of what you’ve lost. Ask your heavenly Father to help you recover each item, and if they’re irretrievable, to comfort you in your loss.