Matthew 18:12-14 (NLT) If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”
All who wander are not lost. The thought popped in my head this morning and I couldn’t shake it off. What is it Lord? Am I wandering? Have I strayed? Why are these words commonly quoted impressed in my heart today? I looked up the word “wander” to see if it held a clue as to what this thought might mean. To wander is to ramble without a definite purpose or objective. To roam or to stray. To go aimlessly, indirection or casually with no real destination. To stray from a place, path or companion. To deviate in conduct or belief. Wow, this word “wander” covers a lot of proverbial and literal ground.
We all wander according to definition. Have you asked yourself recently what is God’s Plan and Purpose for my life? Do you deviate from God’s Word from time to time to pursue your own desire or direction? Do you struggle to avoid sin and do all that His Word says? Have you ever asked “why me”? Felt isolated, alone or afraid? All these are signs of wandering, but friend, you are not lost. Do you love Jesus today? He loves you. If only I could remember on the days that I set the bar far above His Measure of Grace and decide that there are certain acts of service that must accommodate repentance that the Love of Jesus Christ for me is more than enough to secure my faith and become my confident hope.
The Kingdom of God is compared to a man with a large flock of sheep. Can you imagine? There were days when all five kids were younger and moving in different directions that it was a challenge to keep them all together, I cannot comprehend having any more. Yet the Lord carefully reminds us that no matter how many enter the Kingdom and are saved, you are of the utmost important to Him today. He is not looking for you to do anything other than find Him. He doesn’t even wait for you to look as Jesus pursues us passionately with His Goodness and Unfailing Love. (Psalm 23:6) It doesn’t matter where our feet lead us – God has been there before preparing the way of return for us. Fighting our battles and overcoming the enemy. He even blesses us in our wandering in order to lead us back home. When “one” is found and returns – ALL of Heaven rejoices. Whether you are that one today, or maybe the Lord is laying someone on your heart – His Message is clear. Jesus loves the wander and all who wander are not lost.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
When I was young and coming up in church, I remember a preacher telling his congregation that God has a perfect plan for our life. If you deviate from His Plan, essentially his message was you missed it until you repented and rededicated your life to Christ. I lived by that mindset for many years. Each mistake laid heavily on my back or a scarlet letter around my neck, until I decided what was the point of my salvation? I could not be perfect. I still made mistakes. No matter how many times I apologized to the Lord and tried to live for him – the wilderness overtook me time and time again. Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try that you never measure up to God’s Standard? Well according to His Word, “everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s Glorious Standard.” It means that from the moment I took my first breath – I was born dying. My flesh was marked with the DNA of sin from Adam and I needed Jesus to save me.
If we could stop right there and live in that place that I am a sinner. I need Jesus. End of story, what a different place church would be. No longer ruled by religious regulations set forth to identify the lost and saved – we would all confess our wandering and rejoice when one comes home. Our purpose would be found in introducing others to the Savior who died for our weakness, brokenness and imperfection and welcome them home even joining the Lord in beating the bushes to share His Love with them, too. His Grace might be enough for even me.
People become more valuable in the realization of His Grace. The moment it is understood that nothing I do can ever make me worthy of His Love and Perfection. Yet He looks for me and treasures me like the woman who lost a coin. (Luke 15:8-10) Though she had nine days of wages, that one lost was of the utmost importance. She lit a lamp and swept her floor. She would not be deterred until she found it. What do you value in life? God turned the world upside down to insure you would be found.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
If you have never read Psalm 139, I encourage you to do it today. This Psalm was life changing for me and continues to be as I pursue the Lord with all my heart. It breaks the chains of religion because it is all about God’s Relationship with us. It puts our life in perspective from beginning to end allowing us to see our life from His Perspective. His Word crushes the idea that God is surprise by any sin or rebellion in our life. It reminds us that His Love for us is predestined. It started when He formed us in our mother’s womb and carried us through every place our feet have wandered. My life even the secret life I live when no one is around is an open book to the Lord…
Psalm 139:16-18 (NLT) You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
If this is the case, how can my sin, shortcomings or wanderings ever surprise an Omniscient God? He was there from the beginning and recorded every single day of my life in His Book. Every moment of my life laid out before a single day had passed. He knows. God is fully aware of our weaknesses and therefore has provided enough grace for His Power to take over our life. No matter how far you have fallen, the Lord is there to pick us up. Even when we have wandered so far away that we cannot find our way back, His Spirit is there to lead us. I am beginning to believe that wandering is a necessity in this journey called life. To find our way back to Him and decide that His Grace is more than enough. Faith has but one purpose – to find confident hope. Hope has a name. It’s Jesus. Those who know Him will know His Voice, He is calling to us today. No matter how good I may think I am doing, I still need new mercy today. No matter how wretched I have become – His Grace is still sufficient for me. Why? Because He knows me…
Psalm 33:10-11 (NLT) The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Do you believe with all your heart today that the Word of God is true? If so, do you also believe that the Lord’s Plans stand firm forever and He directs the steps of the godly? Your life is going exactly as planned and God is directing every step. It doesn’t say anything about what is going on around us or in us. It just says that God’s Plan stands firm and His Intention can never be shaken. But I am wandering, fallen, broken, on the verge of quitting…what does that have to do with God’s Plan? Will it change? No, God does not lie or change His Mind. If only those who call themselves Christians could live transparent lives, so that others could see there is struggles and pressure in everyone’s life. The only thing that matters is whether or not Jesus is in our life. Why? Our life is preset, prerecorded, and predestined. God knows exactly what has to take place to find our way home.
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
The day after our son was diagnosed with cancer, I was asked the question – “How can you love a God who would give your son cancer?” This person is not a believer. God didn’t give my child a dreadful disease. Sin is the source of every disease in life. It is in our bloodline. Not mine, but everyone’s. My response, “I cannot make you understand or believe that God will heal him, you are just going to have to see it for yourself.” At that moment, I didn’t know how the Lord would do it but in my heart I had peace that He would. God’s Word etched in my heart. His Word spoken to me in my desperation. It had to be enough. It was a long and horrible fight. I am not glad that our kid ever had to endure such a thing. However, the faith produced in brokenness has changed my life forever. Entering the realm of hope, experiencing the peace of totally trusting the Lord, and finally understanding that His Power works best in my weakness has not allowed me to go back to the way things were before. I am different. There is a new normal. What is your story today? Are you in the middle of the book? Worried about how it will end?
We “know” that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose. If God called you and you have responded, He is working every detail of your life for His Good and Glory. Every single moment is recorded in His Book. Our sin is now as far as the east is from the west covered in the Blood of His Son, Jesus. If we are in Christ, though we wander we are not lost. His Unfailing Love and Goodness is in hot pursuit of us. Faith has but one purpose – to achieve confident hope. If we have something we do not need to wait for it. Our life is in transition from death to life. In this transition, Children of God must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. To live by what we believe and not what is seen. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Ephesians 3:17-20 (NLT) Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
God uses our wanderings to allow us to experience the vastness of His Love and Grace. This is how I can experience just how wide, how long, how high and how deep His Love is for me. If I make it to the end of my life with faith in His Love, I will be saved. Are you wandering today? Maybe life just didn’t turn out the way that you expected? Friend, it is exactly how God expected. His Grace is more than enough to produce His Glory in your life – right here, right now. It doesn’t matter what brought you to this place. His Love is ready to overtake you. Allow His Grace to reach you today! Give yourself a break! You may have tripped, stumbled or even fallen but in no way did you reach the boundary of God’s Love and Grace. It is always enough!
For those who are locked in an embrace with Jesus Christ, maybe this is the Spirit of God sending you out to find one who is wandering and bring them back to the fold. You know the one. The one who is broken and lost who needs Light to find their way back. The one who was hurt, offended or abused that needs a loving arm to carry them home. We are one. The Body of Christ is a unit. We need each other. Our purpose is to build a Kingdom together. We are all wanderers but none of us lost. If only we could find the time in our busyness to see that it is the Love of Jesus Christ that is fullness and completion in my life. Nothing else really matters. No moment is wasted. All who wander are not lost – maybe they are just waiting on you.
John 10:9-11 (NLT) Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.