The Bible provides us three clear lost and found stories in Luke 15. A shepherd loses a sheep. He searches for it, finds it, and then calls everyone together to celebrate. A woman has ten gold coins. She loses one, searches for it, finds it, and then gathers her friends to celebrate. Finally, the story of the prodigal son; a son leaves home, squanders his inheritance, reaches the lowest of lows, and then shamefully returns home. He is met by a father who embraces him, and throws a party at his return.
The Bible tells us that in the same way as these three rejoiced, heaven rejoices when one sinner repents and comes to Christ.
When I consider these three stories, I do what I always do. I take their stories further. I consider the future of these characters. Did the woman who lost her coin continue to express her joy over finding it? Did the shepherd who lost his sheep now value that sheep even more? Did the father’s relationship with his son blossom to greater depths now that he had returned?
I wonder at the past of their stories, too. Had the woman who lost her coin been careless? Had the shepherd not valued the one sheep because he had 99 others? Had the father neglected his son, leading his son to want to explore what the world had to offer him?
I’ve lived my own similar lost and found story. When I reached the ‘found’ part of the story I felt like these characters. I wanted to shout my joy from the mountaintops. I wanted to send out notifications to the world that what had been lost was now found. Something that had been broken was now restored. It was all I could think about. For weeks, I would go to sleep giddy with joy, and awake thinking it had all been a dream.
But I also know that the splendor of such an event has the tendency to wear away the older the joy becomes. The unbelievable that at one time was worth celebrating, soon becomes yesterday’s news.
What of these characters? How did their stories end? I know in my own life I no longer find myself continually giddy with joy. I don’t wake up wanting to shout my lost and found story from the mountaintops.
Although we cannot live only on past joy, there are pieces of our pasts that we must bring with us into every day lest we forget and once again lose what once caused us great joy over being found.
At Easter, you cannot avoid the image of Jesus on the cross. I find that it follows me everywhere I go during the months of March and April. When I consider the cross, and what Jesus did for me it shakes my entire being.
I was lost.
He found me!
The greatness of finding something that was lost is nothing compared to being the one that is found.
It is easy to be reminded of what Jesus did for me when it is right there in my face. I have a good cry during passion plays, my chest puffs with gratefulness when I read scripture, and my throat chokes up when I hear Amazing Grace. But then the seasons change, my lost and found story is filed away under ‘Feel Good Stories’ not to be read again until next year.
This Easter, do what you must to cling to what Jesus has done for you. Don’t allow your lost and found story to become a part of the past. Make it an ever present part of your story as it is being written…a story so great that even shouting from the mountaintops won’t do.