Luke 15:7 – I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (NIV)
Joey Been was a wanderer, hence his name: he'd been everywhere! Thus when our cat did not come home one day, we were not overly concerned. By the third day, I began actively to call him. After a week, the whole family looked and asked everyone, everywhere we went, hoping to discover his whereabouts. After a month, we had all but given up hope. Then one morning, after a particularly cold and stormy night, I opened the kitchen door to discover Joey Been!
Wet, wounded, filthy, smelly and wretchedly thin, he flew into my welcoming arms. And I was not the least bit mad that he had been gone for so long or that he had come back in such a mess. No, I was only glad that Joey had at last come home.
Sometimes Christians wander too — wander away from God. We become attracted by the world, or disillusioned by the Church, or simply caught up in personal struggles, and, often before we know it, we have travelled far from home: the foundations of our initial faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When we wander, God is deeply concerned and begins to seek and call for us.
His call may come as a nudge in our conscience, as a funny feeling inside when we encounter other Christians or drive past a church building. It may come through memories of learned Scripture, or times of past fellowship or service.
The beauty of nature, the voice of a friend, the words of a book, the script of a movie, an accident, illness or difficult situation — all can be used by God the Father to seek and call a wanderer home.
When we heed His call, when our hearts in humble repentance return to our first Love, no matter what mess we may be in, no matter what scars or wounds our wanderings may have inflicted upon us, God is not mad, only glad to have us home!
Prayer: Gracious God and loving Father, how precious is your relationship with us! How precious we are in your sight! How you long after and look for us when we wander! Grant us open hearts this day, O Lord, to recognize and respond with repentant hearts to your call, if in fact we have wandered away from you in any way, shape or form. Instill in us a holy desire to be wholly Yours! Through Christ our Lord and Saviour, we ask. Amen.