For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost
Luke 19:10, NIV
I get lost . . . a lot. Every time I bravely drive off on my own, I carefully write out step-by-step directions with landmarks and mile markers. At first, I try talking to myself in my car, verbally reviewing the directions and hoping no one I knows drives by and sees my one-on-one conversation. Inevitably, I concede defeat and call my husband asking frantically for help. When I leave on these adventures, I suspect he just keeps the phone by his side awaiting my S.O.S.
Directions confuse me. My body lacks some sort of navigational center.
Besides that, my memory is jumbled and crowded to the point of spilling over and there’s no room for more trivialities. I rejoice at remembering my hurriedly scribbled shopping list. Victory! The cost is forgetting where I parked my car.
So, I wander. I wander down side streets and make U-turns and scowl at inconvenient one-way roads. With my eyes squinted tightly, I try ever-so-hard to read the road signs before it’s too late to turn. I pray that no one else is behind me, frustrated with the clearly lost driver who is inching down the highway. I wander around parking lots, searching for a familiar license plate and one gray van among a sea of gray vans.
My life wanderings sometimes happen by mistake. I am distracted and too busy to pay attention to where Jesus is going. Stopping to chatter with others and stare at merchandise, I finally look up and find I’m alone. My Savior has kept moving forward, and I’ve failed to stay by His side. I’m the child lost in the Wal-Mart—the one they announce over the loudspeaker, “Would the parents of a small girl wearing a blue shirt please meet her at the service desk?”
That’s me sometimes. I fail to keep up. I get lost.
Other times, I am the one who walks away. I take a wrong step, make a wrong decision. I stumble and lose sight of the path. Suddenly the way ahead seems uncertain and shrouded in darkness and I feel alone. Desperately, I search the faces of those in the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Christ’s robe, His footsteps etched in the dust. I listen for the sound of His voice.
We tell our children if they ever get lost to stay in one place and we will find them. It’s true for our Savior. He’s a seeker of wanderers, a finder of the missing, “for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10, NIV. His heart is always for reconciliation and restoration. Sitting down in the places I find myself, I cry out for help. He finds where I have wandered, lifts me up into His arms and carries me home.
The next time I journey with Him, I grip God’s hand tightly and hover at His side because I know I’m “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” (Robinson).
Then there are the times when I’m lost, not because I’ve accidentally lost sight of God or wandered astray in a mistaken attempt at independence. I’m lost because in this place where God has led me, it is dark and hard to see Him. I know He’s there. I know I am not abandoned. I know this is His will for me. But still it hurts.
Luke 19:10 expresses the heart of the Gospel, declaring that Christ “came to seek and to save the lost” and by lost here, it means “broken beyond repair.”
I’ve been that broken before. Shattered into too many pieces to puzzle back together and glue into place. With David, I’ve cried out, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3, NIV). I’ve plastered on Band-Aids and gauze in a sorry attempt to hide wounds and prevent infection.
Those bandages work sometimes temporarily, enough to make me think I’m whole and strong. Enough for me not to sob out ugly, blotchy-faced, red-eyed tears in public during every worship song and in the middle of every conversation.
But, there’s a weak spot left in my heart where the wound still seeps underneath the skin. One day I’m fine. One second I’m okay. Then words and circumstances penetrate the sores I’ve covered over.
I’m broken. Broken beyond repair.
The same Savior who calls my wandering heart back to Him, accepts my empty-handed offerings when all I have to give is my heart in pieces. Like King David, “my sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NIV).
And God does something wonderfully mysterious in our brokenness when we place our shattered pieces at His feet. His Son Jesus was sent “to bind up the brokenhearted . . . to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV).
God binds up the brokenhearted. He compresses our hemorrhaging hearts, applying pressure to stop the uncontrollable bleeding. He brings deep and true healing in miraculous ways to a heart that was broken. Broken beyond repair.
I get lost . . . a lot. I’ve been broken and crushed. But our Savior, with inexplicable love and abundant grace, left heaven and endured the cross to seek and save those of us who wander and heal and restore those of us who are broken.
And so this wanderer is found and so this broken one is made new.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King