I hate matching socks. Actually, it’s not matching socks that makes me crazy it’s all the unmatched socks. Where do all the lost socks go? I don’t think my cats eat them and my husband assures me that they do not disintegrate in the washer. My only answer is that they are lost. The strange thing is that I keep a basket full of unmatched socks just in case a lost sock turns up. Why? Because I am hopeful. My unmatched sock basket is a sign of hope.
There is something about loosing things that makes us a little nuts. Whether it’s a ring, a car key or an old sock, we stop what ever we are doing and search. The more valuable the item, the more we search. When we find it, joy, confidence and piece of mind are restored. It feels good to find lost things.
Jesus is an expert at finding the lost. Why? Because nothing is as valuable to Jesus as a lost person. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stories about recovering a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. The thing that stands out to me in each of these stories is the hope. Each person never gave up hope that the lost would be found. Praise God that Jesus NEVER gives up hope that the lost people in this world will return home to His loving arms.
I wish the same could be said of each of us. We all know someone who is lost. It could be they believe faith is for the unintelligent or simple minded. Or maybe the person you know believed in Jesus as a child but now they think there are lots of ways to God. Or perhaps you are watching someone slowly slip away into a life of self absorption and despair. Each of these are frightening paths lost people take to move away from Christ.
So what do we do for the people we know who are lost? We begin to pray and lift them up the best way we know how. But a month goes by or a year or even a decade and we still see them walking away from Jesus. At some point, our hope may begins to dry up. It’s easy to think things like “Nothing can make them see the truth.” or “It’s better for me if I just quit hoping for them to change.” In our humanness we pray a little less, reach out a little less and believe a little less that the lost person will ever be found. We become discouraged.
Thankfully, God is bigger than our discouragement. By placing our hope in Jesus, we know that He will never waiver in His desire to reach each lost person. So we must focus on Jesus’ strength and faithfulness in His search for the lost and His abundant joy when each lost person is found. Pray for the lost people in your life with the celebration in mind. Know that you will be rejoicing with all of heaven when your loved one returns home to Christ.
So hang on to your hope. Just like you hang on to your unmatched socks…so you’ll be ready to celebrate when that lost one is finally found.
Karen Tripp MS Speaker, Author, Counselor