The Lost is Found!
Read: Ezekiel 34:11; Matthew 18:12; Luke 19:10
“Who would have thought that it would be found after so much time had passed?” I wonder if retired Navy meteorologist Paul Grisham thought that. The 91-year-old gentleman was reunited with his wallet that he lost in Antarctica 53 years ago. His Driver's license and Navy I.D., along with other sundry items were still inside when Mr. Grisham's wallet was returned to him. It was found behind a locker in a building that was scheduled to be demolished. "I was just blown away," Grisham told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "There was a long series of people involved who tracked me down and ran me to ground."
Isn't it encouraging to hear a story where lots of folks were part of a plan that resulted in a nice thing happening for a man they didn't even know? I love hearing about how a chain of circumstances and people end up blessing someone.
I wonder how many such chains of events and people we will come to know about in heaven as we discover how God has intertwined lives throughout the ages. What stories we will hear of the Lord's providence and how many times He has intervened to bring about His wondrous will. Why does God do these miraculous interventions? It is so that the lost whom He loves Might be found, Ezekiel 34:11; Matthew 18:12. Think of it. Each person who is now with the Lord as well as everyone who will be with Him has a miraculous story. The details of each of our rescues are different, but the miracle whether we came to Jesus dramatically or quietly and simply, is that God has sought and found one who was lost, Luke 19:10. Imagine it. God's love is so vast that Jesus not only died and paid the penalty for all your sins, He also orchestrated the series of events and interactions that were a unique part of your salvation. That person who helped carry your load before you belonged to Jesus. The Savior made sure she/he was in your life. The time you escaped from the circumstances that could have cost your life. Jesus orchestrated that too.
In my case, the reader who patiently told me that Jesus cared about the little things in my life. The Savior built her for that task and intertwined our lives. I wonder how many other people the Lord put in place who were a part of the chain that led me to Him? That's not all. Jesus uses each of us as He seeks and saves too. As sweet as it is to hear about folks who helped reunite an old wallet with its owner, how much more precious is it that the Lord involves us in His work of seeking the lost.
I wonder, even now, what God is doing in answer to our prayers, for either our loved ones or people we might never meet. What links is He putting together through the words we speak and any small kindness He allows us to do? What about the gifts we are privileged to give to those who we will never meet?
This week, I read the story of Caleb Byerly who had an amazing dream in 2013. He had been reaching out to indigenous people for the previous five years. In his dream, he saw people, and when he asked the name of their tribe, he was told that they were the Tinananon. There were other details he saw concerning a musical instrument he had never seen, even though Mr. Byerly was a builder of instruments. A search of the Internet showed no people group called the Tinananon people, nor was he able to find any such musical instrument as he had seen in the dream. What God did to connect Caleb Byerly to the Tinananon is too detailed to be chronicled now; so, let's go right to the end of the chain of events and celebrate that the lost was found! Caleb Byerly did meet a man whose people are the Tinananon. They did know about the special musical instrument that he saw in his dream. Eventually, Chief Suhat and 50 other Tinananon chiefs gave the okay for the Bible to be translated into the Tinananon language in 2015. Now there are hundreds of believers in Jesus who belong to that tribe. The chain of events that God used to bring about redemption for so many of the Tinananon people is so amazing that Caleb Byerly knows that only God could have brought it all together. He also believes that the miracles they experienced were likely the result of 100 years of 24/7 prayer.
The Moravian Church began this prayer movement in 1727. Imagine the unknown people who prayed for unknown tribes like the Tinananon tribe who they neither heard of or would ever meet here on earth. What a beautiful link they most likely were in the chain that led to a man in North Carolina who had a dream he didn't understand. Yet, he eventually was connected to a people who were lost. Oh, the love of Jesus Who made certain that the lost were found!! Each of us most likely loves someone, who is at the time of this writing, lost. Let's remember the Tinananon. Because of God's unconquerable love, power and wisdom, many of them are now found.
The same seeking Savior is still at work. His grace is still being poured out through our words, prayers and actions and those of other believers who are part of God's chain of love for them.