Jesus told a story:
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 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 which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
I have thought about Jesus’ story a lot over the years. It was about someone who had lost what he valued. The shepherd was looking for something important to him. Moreover, he was looking for that which was his and was vulnerable. To lose a sheep was to know that it wouldn’t be long before, if it were found at all, it would be found dead, consumed by a beast of prey, its remains scattered on the ground.
Jesus’ story was about the Father and about himself looking for the lost, looking for me.
Were there dark crags so foreboding that Jesus would turn back and give me up? Was there a damp ravine or rank pool that would have so repelled him that he would have counted me forever lost, the remains of my hopeless soul to be scattered like dry bones?
I have been found. I know the answer to those questions is ‘no.’ Corrie ten Boom wrote, “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
(From Chapter 21, The Butterfly and the Stone)