A Profound Rescue

In the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14) Jesus shares a truth about God searching for a sheep which was lost. Considering much of my life was crushed by mental and emotional problems, I used to wonder why God waited so long to restore and transform me. Why didn’t Jesus go after me like the parable pictured? I was lost, suffering tremendously. Did He abandon me and leave me all alone as I descended to ever greater degrees? At the time I needed Him most, where was He? Considering the restored life I enjoy now it is not something I dwell on, but it was such a long painful time, it did leave scars.

During a bible study at church, we had gone through the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller. What an eye opener about human behavior and God’s care for us the study was. It was then I realized my perspective was wrong. Jesus did go after this lost sheep. God has healed and restored me immensely compared to the defeat I knew, where I have become much stronger than I ever was before my long collapse.

My view was wrong in terms of the time, for one. Jesus did not come rescue me in five minutes or twenty-four hours. That is how we American folks like things, one-hour photo fixes to problems. He worked on me for many years, bringing me to a point where I was ready to unlearn all the lies and pain. God did a profound work overtime, much richer, penetrating, and transforming than simply removing a circumstance. Yes, the course of the years was full of prolonged dark periods and pain. Yet, suffering is one of the chief ways God breaks the hold of our brokenness to reveal His astounding grace and love. I had such deeply buried wounds it was beyond a quick fix. Indeed, as far as I or even the doctors I saw knew, I was beyond help. It was not in a day or two that Jesus snatched this sheep out of the briers, He has done a greater work now than it ever would have been if He did it that way.

The other view I had wrong was God’s goodness. I saw my experience through my own eyes, not His. I felt abandoned because it was all life taught me. However, we do not get the truth of God from feelings, fallen human behavior, or circumstance. God’s character and Word transcend this in utmost holiness, goodness, and grace. I am deeply loved and covered in the shed blood of Christ. I have an intimate connection with a loving Father who will never leave me. He never did. God knew every second, every day of what I went through. He knew it from the perspective of knowing the whole of me, to my core. My question came from ignorance of this and learned behavior of rejection and abandonment.

In the continuing process of a long transformation, God is being glorified and seen as the only source of the blessing. It cannot be confused with anything else for me. I know myself too well for that. The good I have now is not my doing. What I was capable of on my own was only ashes, it was not pretty. Praise be to the God of love and grace, in our most wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. His love is continually astounding.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed”. (John 8:36)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Jesus speaking, Luke 4:18-19)

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