I spent the afternoon looking for my lost car key. Searching everywhere I could possibly think of. Looking in some places multiple times. I drove back-and-forth to the police station two different times seeing if the key had been turned in. Walking through our neighborhood, sure that it had fallen out of my pocket on a walk. Searching up and down the sidewalks.
All afternoon my key was on my mind. I could picture it. I could practically feel it in my hand. But it remained lost. I prayed. I even asked others to join me in prayer and yet the key did not turn up.
I started thinking and wondering about why the Lord wanted me to go through this experience? Was there going to be a terrible accident the next day and He was protecting me and my family from that by not allowing us to drive? Was He giving me a chance to exercise patience and flexibility while not being able to control the situation?
We have all lost our keys at one time or another. It’s driven us crazy looking for our lost phone. We’ve torn our houses apart looking for that lost library book. We can all relate to the anxiety, the uncertainty, worry, frantic feeling of losing something important.
On one of my trips to the police station, I left my phone number so the kind lady could call if my keys ever did get turned in. I went home and searched some more.
Finally, my phone rang. “Hello, is this Lisa?” the kind lady from the police station asks.
“Yes, this is Lisa,” I say.
“Oh, good, we have your key.”
“Really? Is it black? Just one Ford key on the chain?” I was in disbelief that it could actually be MY key.
“Yes, we have your key. You have 15 minutes to come get it before we close,” she states.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you! I will leave right now!”
I tell my girls that I am going to get my key and I drive back to the police station. During my drive back, the Holy Spirit turned my mind to the Lord’s lost. The book of Luke in the Bible describes the lost sheep and how the shepherd doesn’t rest until he finds the lost sheep. He may have 99 sheep safe with him in the sheepfold but he searches for the one lost sheep. The shepherd represents the Lord and the lost sheep represent the people who have chosen to turn their back on Him.
The book of Luke in the Bible describes three different parables about something being lost: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Each time, the person who lost something never gave up searching, hoping, longing for what was lost. And, each time, when the lost was found, they rejoiced. Joyfully celebrating over the lost being found.
Luke 15 The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
When I first laid eyes on my keys I was overjoyed. Such a relief! I walked back to my car with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. While driving home all I could think about was how grateful I was that a woman took the time to pick up the key when she saw it on the sidewalk and drive to the police station to turn it in.
I was so grateful I wanted to give her something. Just like the Lord rewards us when we do our part to plant the seed, speak the truth and love people into His kingdom.
I thought about how this day would have turned out had I driven to the police station a second time, picked up the key, brought the key home, tried putting it into the lock and discovered it was not my key. Or, if the lady who found the key had waited even 20 more minutes to bring the key to the station. The station would have been closed and she would not have been able to get inside to drop it off.
Just like with believers. Sometimes we share the gospel with a lost soul and it falls on rocky ground…we don’t see salvation occur as we had hoped. Sometimes we plant a little seed, but we don’t see anything take root. Or our timing isn’t quite right.
I think about how the Lord pursued me. For 22 years, He thought about me when I gave Him little or no thought. He cared for me when I didn’t care for Him or His people. He loved me when my heart was hard toward Him. And, He died for me, when I was given over to my sin.
My mind wanders to the lost sheep in my life and my “failed” attempts at explaining the Lord’s love to them. But, just as the lady who found my key responded in obedience, I will respond in obedience. She didn’t know where to return the key. She didn’t know exactly how to return the key to it’s rightful owner, but she did what she knew to do. She could have kept the key, holding onto it, placing it in a drawer, waiting to try to figure out exactly what she should do with it. But, instead, she did what she knew to do.
I could hold onto the Lord’s promises for myself, keeping them tucked away in my heart. I could let doubt and uncertainty about how best to share His love with others keep me from sharing. But, I will do as the Lord instructs me to do and trust Him with the rest. I will pray. I will share what the Lord has done in my life. I will explain His plan for salvation. I will love as He shows me to love.
I will trust that just as my mind is on the lost sheep in my life, how much more the Lord has all His lost sheep close to His heart and never loses sight of them.