My husband and I celebrated my birthday this past Saturday with a trip to Cleburne, the theatre, and dinner with friends. Relaxed and content, Dick and I climbed into the car, ready to enjoy our long ride home.
About fifteen miles out of Cleburne I reached to adjust my glasses. My hand brushed the side of my ear and panic swept through me like a down-draft. “It’s gone.” I shouted and rubbed my ear lobe.
“What’s gone?” Dick jammed on brakes, swerved, and pulled to the side of the road.
“How? Where?” Dick glared at me like I’d lost my mind.
“If I knew where it wouldn’t be lost.” My mind raced back to Cleburne and I mentally retraced my steps. I had the earrings on at dinner. One friend had voiced how lovely they were. How would I ever be able to tell Lisa and Michael.
Our daughter-in-law is the best gift-picker-outer ever. She and my son had sent two pair of unique, creative silver earrings from the Kennedy Center in Washington for my birthday, just last week. This was the first time I had worn my beautiful gift.
“Dear God,” I breathed. “Please help me find my earring.”
“Why don’t you call the restaurant and see if anyone found them,” Dick said.
A short phone call brought discouraging news—no earring found.
“Honey, would you mind going back?” I knew my request meant we would be late arriving home. Too late to watch Dick’s Nascar race. And, it might be a useless trip. Still, I had to return to search for my treasured gift of love.
We parked in the same spot we left forty-five minutes earlier and retraced our steps between the car and the restaurant. I walked through the parking lot, my eyes scanning every inch of black asphalt. Remembering I had hugged a friend goodbye before we walked to our car, I stepped onto the sidewalk right where we had left the couple. I looked down.
The earring lay on the cement, right where it must have fallen.
Relief and joy replaced the weight of despair as I snatched and held up the recovered treasure for my sweet husband to see.
His eyes widened and a smile spread across his face. “DiAne, you have got to be one of the most…”
As we drove home, an enormous moon topped the horizon and I thought of the scripture where Jesus tells of the Shepherd who loved His sheep so much He left the ninety-nine obedient sheep to go search for one lost lamb.
The earrings were gorgeous and a wonderful gift, but the givers of my gift are the objects of my love. She loved me enough to pick out jewelry she knew I would enjoy and my love for my son and daughter-in-law caused me to search for my lost present.
In just that way, the Greatest Gift-Giver of the Universe offers each one of us His mercy, His grace, and His forgiveness. Forever. A priceless gift of love purchased with the blood of His only Son. And we risk losing that priceless treasure when we run from His amazing love. Why?
I rehearsed the scripture again. And remembered a time when I strayed because I was rebellious and lost. Lost in the false thrill of doing my own thing. But Jesus sought and found me. Forgave me. Restored me to a relationship with Him, because He loved me enough to take my punishment—death. And give me life—new life in Him.
How about you? How long have you been running? Lost and alone, running from the Father who loves you? The Shepherd is searching.You are His treasure and He takes pleasure hearing the sound of your voice. Why not cry out for His help today and come home? His arms are open wide. Waiting just for you.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15 NAS).