Rejoice – The Lost is Found

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Has your week given you something to rejoice about? Rejoicing is a strong word so although we may be grateful for many things that our days produce when we use the word rejoice it signifies something grander and fuller of joy. In fact, the word itself as defined is to show great joy or delight and has such synonyms such as ecstasy and rapture. It is a rare day for most of us when we would describe our day or an event as one to rejoice about, which make these moments all the more special and treasured.

There are a variety of things we might describe in the manner of rejoicing, one of which is to find a lost or treasured object. I learned this week that there is actually a website with an app that dedicates itself to helping people connect the lost with the found and vice versa. The website, https://lostandfound.com/ acts as a global “lost and found” box. It is an interesting concept and they claim to have the “most comprehensive online database of lost and found pet and property listings”. Reconnecting items to their rightful owners must bring great satisfaction and issue joy for all when the connection is made. Certainly, it is a day to rejoice.

A Personal Loss

Have you ever lost anything that held a great deal of personal value and wished it could be found? I know I have. Several years ago, while working at the church, I noticed that the back of my earring had fallen off and thus the earring was missing. It was heartbreaking to me because it was part of a set that my husband gifted me with over a couple of celebrations. Every now and then I pick up the remaining earring with longing for its mate. The incompleteness of the set with its missing parts just leaves an emptiness.

As silly as it might seem, I know I would certainly rejoice if that lost earring was ever found, not because of its monetary value but its sentimental value which is much greater. Thinking about how excited I would be to reunite with my lost item and obviously I am not alone as there is an entire website dedicated to such, can you imagine how heaven must rejoice when the lost people of the world reunite with their creator?

A Grand Moment to Rejoice

Last Sunday, I had the privilege to witness and be part of a service that calls for rejoicing. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I, along with 2 other people, were given the opportunity to help someone come out of homelessness. This past Sunday, this man officially became part of God’s church. But what made this service special is that he didn’t walk down that aisle alone. He walked with approximately 26 people who supported him with love and compassion. It was an emotional impact that not only affected those of us who stood with him but those in the congregation that watched the event unfold.

He stood facing the congregation surrounded by people on his left and right that refused to allow him to be alone as he reconnected his lost life to one found with His creator. He beamed with joy as his heart overflowed with rejoicing that was so loud it bounced off the walls of the church. And likewise, the hearts of those in attendance appeared to join with his to rejoice as well.

Isn’t it a day to rejoice when we know that we will never fall into the “Lost” category again? That our God never gives up on us? God’s love for each of us is so great that He seeks us out no matter our past or our circumstances and rejoices when we turn to Him. Because of this, we too should see not only the value in our own selves but the value in all people, no matter what. For heaven surely sings as the lost become found and we reconnect to our Savior.

When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.”

Luke 15:6 (NLT)

Striped People

Perhaps you find it difficult to identify with the idea of being lost or found. The lost and found concept is a strange language as we may feel we must be one or the other thus making us neither. However, maybe some of us are not completely lost or found, but we just hang in the middle being a bizarre combination of both.

Author, Dr. Ralph Milton, illustrates this in the story of a teacher, who for reasons of her own asked the children one day, “If all the bad children were painted red and all the good children were painted green, which color would you be?” One very wise child responded, “Striped!”

This very absolute sounding question requires a very uncomfortable answer. If we respond with green, we indicate we are good which we all want to be, but deep down it is clear that we aren’t always good. While if we respond with the color red, that isn’t always correct either, which leaves the most logical response being that we are a conglomeration of the two.

For many of us in the church perhaps this is where we identify. As we are caught somewhere between lost and found with some days leaning a bit more towards the lost while other days, we align with the light of the found. No matter who we are there is always a piece of us that needs to be dragged a bit further into the light of God even if other parts of us already bask in the light. And the most wonderful thing that we can rejoice about is that God wants to find us fully in His light. He desires to bless each of us, keeping us safe, and away from the dark and lost side of life.

Rejoice with God’s Love

The good news for us all is that God is a God of second chances and is not a one and done kind of God. That is a concept that all people everywhere can rejoice about. In addition, the Good News of God’s kingdom is for everyone, even those that society may feel is beyond hope. For Christ came into the world to save sinners and there is no sinner beyond His saving power. That is the hope for all striped people everywhere which includes all of us! Our failures can easily be turned into successes of hope in the light of God. And our hope is contagious as we share and rejoice over our experiences with others.

God cherishes each and every one of us loving us to the point that He waits for the lost and the lost parts of our life to be reconnected with Him. We can be the catalyst of reconnecting when others clearly witness how important the gospel is in our lives.

Won’t you challenge yourself to show love for everyone as you make it personal to remember that God sent Christ to die for you while you were a sinner? Find your conviction to rejoice with heaven over each person and part of your life that comes more fully into the Light of God. Be motivated to share the love of Christ by being the reconnector, helping the lost be found and rejoice in the process. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God, with His extraordinary love, not only tenderly searches for the loss of the world but then joyfully forgives and rejoices as the reconnection is made.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. Love has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. Love has the ears to hear the signs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

Saint Augustine

Extra Study

Luke 15:2; 19:10, Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:14 – 16

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you rejoice to know that God loves your striped self? Have you witnessed the reconnection of the lost and found with Christ and others or your own life? Share your thoughts on the need to rejoice over the deep love God shows us all.

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How God is working through your life?