This morning I was praying for several of my family members. The truth is, no one can really script out what the future will look like. If it was up to me, my grandparents would still be alive, thriving on some magic pill that kept them young and energetic. Holidays would still be the same. Life would be more rose-colored like it was in many ways when they were still alive. But I would likely have missed the gift of growth and progressive maturity that comes with the changing of the guard. Still…bittersweet…
God has given all of us the gift of choice, and we are all setting our own course each day with every thought that becomes a decision and action that we make. Our lives look very different from each other. Perhaps you can relate with respect to your own family.
There are things I personally wish I could control for members of my family. I wish I could take their pain away. I wish I could create opportunities for them. I wish I could make them forgive. But I can’t. Some days involve daily surrender to the things I cannot control. But I have learned to pivot my focus from concern for them to praying and releasing them to God. To making life-giving declarations that I can speak and believe for them. To intercessory prayer…knowing just enough to ask God to intervene mightily. And when I don’t know what to do or say, I just pray in the holy spirit because thank God, He knows what they truly need more than I ever will.
This morning as I was praying for my family and others, the Lord spoke this to me:
“The love you feel for the lost and hurting is a drop in a bucket compared to the love I feel for my children. They think I have forgotten them. They think they are lost. I leave the 99 to find them. But who left who? My dear sheep have wandered from their safe place in Me. They enjoyed time in my pasture consuming in my presence, then they looked up and did not recognize their surroundings. They became distracted. They wandered away from the sound of My voice in search of more.
I am searching for them. I still call out to them. I long to deliver them from the dangers outside of my sheep pen. Ears be open to the voice of your Shepherd! Do not be stubborn sheep. Yield to your shepherd who saves.”
A shepherd had 100 sheep and 1 strayed away. This sheep was in the sheep fold under the voice of its shepherd, but it chose to follow the way of sin rather than to dwell with the shepherd. I’ve said this before, God doesn’t make robots. He gave Adam and Eve a choice, and the choice remains today. It is your daily choice to willfully follow the Lord and dwell with him. Or- you can try it YOUR way, which I can tell you from experience doesn’t work. Nevertheless, Jesus loves you enough to give you free will, hoping that you’ll choose him back.
Numbers don’t matter to Jesus. He will always leave the 99 to come and find the 1 who is lost. And just as he did with the prodigal son and the lost sheep, he rejoices when you’re found again. He’s not concerned about your talents and your treasure as much as he is the condition of your heart. Are your ears open to Him today? Will you allow the holy spirit to convict you if you’ve strayed from His presence? The Lord says, “Don’t be stubborn sheep. Yield to your shepherd who saves.”
Read The Parable of the Lost Sheep here for more.