The Parable of the Lost Pointer
by Brenda Kuseski
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Karen Swallow Prior revisits Jesus’ parable, where He reminds the Pharisees of God’s unceasing love:
One year ago, I came to understand this parable as I had never understood it before. When my dog slipped out one night and into the woods, we dropped everything to find her. Hours of searching turned into days. Each waking moment (which was most of them) was spent searching. Tramping through woods. Driving down country roads. Knocking on doors. Calling animal shelters. Handing out flyers. Sharing on social media. And praying.
While I prayed, neighbors opened their doors to knocking, took flyers, nodded sympathies and promises. Strangers arrived to help look. Friends near and far prayed and prayed and prayed. … Of the countless homes in our community we stopped at and countless people we spoke to, I remember one in particular. We stopped at a doublewide surrounded by rusting machinery and ancient vehicles. A big-bellied shirtless man was working outside while his wild little children ran about the yard. He looked at my husband and me curiously as we left our car and approached him with a flyer. His hard face softened as he listened to our tale of woe. He urged us not to give up and told us of his own dog who had once been gone for two weeks before coming home. “Dogs are like your children,” he said tenderly, and all I could do was nod quietly lest I burst into tears again.
“Can you imagine what it would be like to lose a child?” my husband asked. I could hear the lump in his throat. “No,” I whispered, thinking of the mothers and fathers in our community whose daughters had not come home until their bones were found in shallow dirt. There is so much suffering on this earth. Only God is wholly good.
A Thursday became Friday became Saturday became Sunday. I awoke that morning, begging God, Please let it be today, God. Please bring her home today. Please. I cried all the way through church, through a message about giving up our striving and giving things over to God. “Are you at church?” a friend texted me during the service. “This sermon is for you.” I knew it was. Sunday evening, the call came.
A neighbor had walked out her front door to find Ruby lying on her lawn, injured and unable to get up. We raced there, and I dropped onto my knees in a prayer of thanksgiving. Ruby lifted her head and kissed my face. Broken. So broken. Yet, once lost, now found. Now home. I lifted my head to the Lord in ineffable thanks. Jesus’ words struck home. “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.’”
A few weeks later, while Ruby was recovering nicely (she had been hit by a car, likely on the first day she went missing), I was out jogging when an old pickup pulled up alongside me, its window lowering. I glanced over, expecting to give directions to someone who was lost. “Did you ever find your dog?” the driver asked. It took me a second before I recognized the burly neighbor who’d urged us not to give up hope. I gave him a great grin and shouted, “Yes!” “I’m so glad to hear it!” he said, and he rejoiced with me. –Adapted, Christianity Today
This week, reflect on the fact that Jesus loves the lost ones your own heart breaks for, and the lost ones you don’t even know about. The Father, Son, and Spirit yearn for them to be returned and redeemed.. Pray boldly!