Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Even as a child, I loved church. The creak of old oak pews, the scent of recently rubbed wax into the woodwork, nice people seated shoulder to shoulder, but what I loved the most were the stained glass windows illustrating Bible stories.
My favorite window has always been Jesus the Good Shepherd holding His lost, and now found, lamb.
How heaven rejoices when the lost gives their heart to God. That is everything. Making it home. However, something happened which caused me to take a deeper look into the heart of Jesus and the lost.
First off, the joy of my existence is when my grandsons, Kingston and Karter, visit. I don't see them very often because they live on the East coast along with their parents. When they do arrive, we have missed time to make up.
The park is one of their favorite stops. Last summer, they asked to take Hilde, my rat terrier/chihuahua mix rescue dog, along. I hooked her leash onto the harness and once we got to the park, Hilde slipped her harness as she leaped from the car. It was a joyful moment for her as she ran and disappeared into the trees. For me it was a chilling moment, filled with fear and despair. I immediately felt ill with worry that my dog might be picked up by a stranger, or eventually run into the busy street and killed.
Not wanting to scare her, I walked toward the direction Hilde disappeared, sweetly calling her name. There she was. She stopped and looked at me from afar. I sat on the ground and beckoned her to come, but she turned and ran off again. All kinds of scenarios played in my head, as I got to my feet, none had a happy ending. I was about to take off for Wisconsin in a few days, and one thing was for sure, if my dog was killed, I knew I couldn't leave my mentally ill son alone to grieve-not to mention my own deep grief of losing a beloved pet.
Meanwhile, Kingston and Karter waited patiently by the car. I'd turn to keep my eye on them every few seconds, needing to keep sight of them, as I searched for my lost lamb. My heart pounded, I had shortness of breath.
At long last, Hilde circled around and ran to Kingston. She rolled over and allowed the boys to rub her belly until I was able to nab her. Yes, I took her right home. I was so happy to have her well and alive that she got a few extra treats at dinnertime.
Hours later, I relived the day in my mind, thinking about how scared I was, how my heart thumped in my chest, how I couldn't catch my breath, how worried I was that I was going to lose Hilde, That's when I thought about the Good Shepherd and how He must feel trying to find his lost lamb, fearing the steep cliffs, and the hungry wolf.
In the pictures and the stained glass window, the Good Shepherd looks patient, calm, not panicky. The artist has it all wrong. We don't like attributing human traits to a sovereign God. You may not think God ever panics, but I disagree. Jesus wept when he lost his dear friend Lazarus. He wept and travailed with tears of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He panics over losing us. He must feel grief and fear when he imagines the death of our soul.
But, oh, the rejoicing when He safely carries us home in His arms.
"A shepherd would leave the ninety-nine sheep and search for the lost one until he found it. Then he would put it on his shoulders with joy, take it home, and tell his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him, because he had found his lost sheep."