Ezekiel 34:15-16a – I myself will tend my sheep and make them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. (NIV)
Recently, a beagle wandered into our neighbourhood behaving like a lost dog. Doubtless, in his doggy mind, he was having an adventure. Trailing a chewed-off leash behind him, he was having the time of his doggy life. He saw absolutely no danger in what he was doing as he explored rabbit trails, tore open and feasted upon garbage that awaited pickup, and crossed busy streets with cheerful abandon. But we saw the danger, even if he didn't. A car might have hit him, unable to stop in time. The alluring rabbit trails could have contained snares which might have caught and wounded him. The delicious-smelling garbage certainly contained bacteria which could have made him sick. So my neighbour and I decided to rescue him. We searched until we found his owner. It turned out that the dog lived up the road from us, about a mile away. Although we were concerned for his safety, the dog obviously wasn't. The owner said that he ran away with alarming frequency.
Similarly, some believers, who wander from God, likely feel that they are having the time of their lives. To them, it's an adventure. In their minds, they are not lost. They perceive no danger in what they are doing. They gallivant around and play in traffic, morally speaking, that is. They explore dangerous paths which could lead to their ruin, and consume moral garbage with abandon, unaware of sin's festering bacteria just waiting to infect them. Often, they repeatedly offend against the gospel. Every time sin lures them, they gallop away from God. They can't seem to say "no". Wanderlust seeps into their psyche and off they go, gallivanting.
The good news is that, like a Good Shepherd, God pledged to seek these wandering sheep until He found them. Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11 NIV) To seek those who have wandered away, Jesus laid down His life on Calvary's cross, rose from the dead, never to die again, and lives eternally at God's right hand. Only Jesus can make that claim. No one else can. He is truly the Good Shepherd who seeks and saves those who are plagued by wanderlust. No one need lose heart, nor fear that they have strayed too far for Christ to find them. He never gives up the search.
Prayer: Good Shepherd of our souls, we pray for You to bring back the wandering ones who are lost and do not even know it. Reclaim them with Your love given freely to those who would simply ask to be found. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.