Am I One of God’s Lost Sheep?
By Janet Stobie
During my childhood, the story of Jesus, the shepherd, seeking and finding his lost sheep felt comforting. I’d picture myself as the sheep carried by Jesus in our church’s stained glass window. I welcomed the security that Jesus would look for me if I was lost.
When I was a teenager, one of my youth leaders said, “There is a spark of God in all of us from the moment of our conception.” Although it felt good to think of God residing within me, that understanding presented challenges to my growing faith. If God was inside me, how then could I be the lost sheep? Why would Jesus need to come looking for me?
Today I believe being lost in terms of faith is not a physical separation from God. We make decisions that in our minds carry us away from God. Usually, the choices are small at first, sometimes just a thought, My friend always gets more than me. Sometimes an action. We look at the sign: Seniors 65 plus and rationalize: Many places classify seniors as 60 plus, as we ask for a senior’s ticket when we’re only 63. Small steps grow larger, and one day we are caught cheating on our income tax, or lying to our friend. We didn’t think of it that way, but we’ve stepped over the line and lost our way in terms of our faith. God is still with us, but we no longer know it.
I believe God walks with us on this journey, questioning our choices, calling us to turn around, waiting for us to see the light. It’s only one step and we’re home. If we need it, God carries us that step. We’re found. We open God’s waiting gift to receive God’s amazing Grace. Our forgiveness is complete and free.
“And surely, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)