Jesus gave them another parable: “There once was a woman who had ten valuable silver coins. When she lost one of them, she swept her entire house, diligently searching every corner of her house for that one lost coin. When she finally found it, she gathered all her friends and neighbors for a celebration, telling them, ‘Come and celebrate with me! I had lost my precious silver coin, but now I’ve found it.’ That’s the way God responds every time one lost sinner repents and turns to him. He says to all his angels, ‘Let’s have a joyous celebration, for that one who was lost I have found!’” (Luke 15:8-10 TPT)
I’ve been on a couple of trips in the last few weeks all by myself, which rarely happens for this wife and momma of four littles. Part of me would love to tell you I took a writing retreat to an isolated cabin somewhere or spent a week reading and relaxing on an exotic beach, but these trips were not quite so glamorous.
First my sweet, sweet grandma passed away unexpectedly, so I traveled to spend time with her and my family surrounding her going to be with the Lord. And then I went to be with my amazing sister-in-law who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments out of state, doing my best to be helpful to her and her family while they maintain their family of six in the midst of her illness.
As you’ve probably gathered, I’m not the jet-setting kind of woman, so I was looking for hacks on how to pack well and use carry-on baggage to my advantage. Even though I didn’t end up wearing them on my last trip I wanted to pack a couple of my small gold necklaces, just in case. Since Google knows everything, it found an awesome tip about packing necklaces between folded sheets of press ‘n’ seal wrap to keep them from tangling when they inevitably get all rolled up during transit. Genius! So I did just that. I packed a couple of necklaces separately just like the pictures demonstrated and went along my way.
I made it home fine, but luggage tends to linger at my house. Admittedly it took me a couple of days to finally un-pack all that had gone with me. And when I finally got to the bottom of the pile in my almost empty suitcase, I noticed the necklaces were still hanging out in their wraps, but un-tangled as promised. Score. So I placed them (still wrapped up) on the top of my dresser before I went to bed thinking I’d just unwrap them in a couple of days when I thought to wear them again.
It was a good plan. Until it wasn’t. Sure enough, when I went to grab one of them this afternoon they were both gone. Completely gone. I immediately called my husband, trying to remain calm. I remembered he was purging, uh, I mean cleaning, the night before (which I totally appreciate) and he must have seen the “trash” on top of the dresser and chucked it in the garbage. I was freaking out a little on the phone as I asked him to please…try…to…remember…if…he…had…thrown…something…like…that…away… He didn’t remember doing it, but I had a feeling they were long gone. I could see them in my imagination on the curb, waiting to be hauled away.
We were on our way to the dentist’s office when the realization hit me, so I grabbed the trash bag from the can outside and brought it inside for safe keeping until we could get back (gross, I know). I tried not to be too distracted while we were gone, so I could tend to my daughter. But when we got home, I made my first priority to make the banana smoothies she wanted to aid her recovery and coming in a close second was to dig through the trash.
When I went through the bag that had previously lived outside bit by bit, I found nothing. No necklaces -- just old banana peels, food wrappers, used dinner napkins, and other niceties. Frustrated but determined, I moved on to the current kitchen trash. I won’t go in to details, but you can use your imagination to envision the contents. I couldn’t believe what I was doing, but in the midst of it, I heard God speak to my heart.
He kept talking to me about this woman. The woman who had ten valuable coins but lost one. Just one. She searched high and low. She was diligent. She looked in every corner of her house. She was persistent. She didn’t give up until she found that coin. She didn’t quit after an hour thinking it was alright, that she still had other coins to make up for the lost one. She panicked. She was consumed by it. Where was that coin? It was special to her. It held value. She wasn’t thinking replacement -- she was thinking recovery.
And when she finally found that one lost coin, when relief swept over her, when excitement took the place of grief….she threw a party! She called her friends and neighbors to let them know her search was over! Her coin of great price was found. Jesus told us this is how it is in heaven when even one sinner repents. When just one of God’s children turns to Him. Just one.
As I sat today digging through yesterday’s garbage, God spoke to me. He said, “I do this for you.” He told me He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty. I don’t gross Him out. He doesn’t pause to put gloves on because He’s disgusted by the filth that surrounds around me at times.
Having other kids in His family, people on His team, valuables by His side is not enough for God. He. Wants. YOU. He will dig through garbage to get to you. He will persist on looking until you stop running. He will search high and low, near and far, deep and wide, just to show you how much He loves you. And then, when He finally finds what He’s looking for, when He sees your eyes meet His and you return home -- He calls His angels and throws a party to celebrate YOU! There’s no replacement for you in His mind’s eye, there’s only recovery. The return of the lost valuable one -- you.
I did eventually find my necklaces -- buried, still in their wraps at the bottom of the bag in the kitchen trash can. Just like us, they were sealed until the moment they were found again and taken out of their mess to be kept safe and sound. We all were once lost, but thanks to the Father’s great love for us and His perseverance, we are found and celebrated in Him.