Somewhere along the drive to visit my daughter, who lived a little over an hour away, I became lost in thought and found myself 20 miles down the road. The radio was playing a soft satellite station and tears slowly painted their weary streaks, which I didn’t wipe away. It felt good to let them roll down, cheek to chin, and disappear, alone to my thoughts.
Moments later, an early model blue stepside truck pulled in front of me as the rain began to beat a heavy rhythm upon the roof of my car.
I turned up the speed of my wipers and squinted through the wavy lines on the windshield to make out the cargo in the open back of the truck. It’s tailgate was missing and something was being hauled in a metal crate.
There were no other cars around and the truck was moving slower than the posted speed. I had braked to release my cruise control and considered passing in the right lane; but I simply followed.
It was just about dusk, but sunset seemed absent, as the gray stormy clouds hovered about the evening sky. The rain continued it’s constant drumming, and all that remained of my tears was a dry path lightly etched in my makeup, dotted with flecks of mascara.
I was mesmerized by the taillights of the blue pickup and continued to follow. And, while his pace was slower than I had planned to travel, I wasn’t really in a hurry or late, so why rush. What was in the back bed of the truck? Something in that crate seemed to move. It must be an animal. The gloomy weather did not make for a clear view of my curious moment. But, at least I was momentarily distracted from emotion.
A sheep; or a lamb. I wasn’t certain of it’se age.
I began to think of the parable that Jesus taught in Luke 15:3-7:
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
And I cannot… honestly… explain the peace that came over me in the next moment.
It was truly indescribable.
As the tears came flooding back, I pictured Jesus driving that old blue pick up truck.
And in the back, He carried the lost sheep that had wandered off. Who knows why that sheep, wet and alone in the crate, got lost?
It might have been the sunniest of days on the hill, when everything was easy, but that grass looked much greener, tastier and softer on the hill over yonder. And, it’s probably a more hearty and flavorful grass that gives better “sheep breath.” Anything’s better than the “stale grass” on the only hill you know.
Or possibly it was distracted by the world’s temporary promises to fulfill the need to feel important, valued and popular; to do something to get noticed and get more “likes” on a photo, tweet or post; more followers on a blog.
Maybe instead of running toward something, it was simply running away from something, someone or some past.
Maybe, just running with the wrong crowd.
I’ve been lost.
Different times in my life; different degrees of lost.
The first time He found me I was ten years old. I was with my friends at a summer church event hosted in a friend’s house. I wasn’t used to going to church and didn’t know much about God.
Until someone explained the A, B, C’s to me…
(also see: www.cbhministries.org/ABCsofSalvation)
- A – Admit honestly to God that I have sinned and disobeyed Him.
- B – Believe that Jesus died on the cross & rose again; His blood was shed to pay the for my sins.
- C – Choose to trust Jesus alone for the forgiveness of my sins.
When Jesus taught that parable of the lost sheep, this is the kind of “lost” he meant when He tells of the celebration of joy in heaven over their return!
And while, I know my eternity is secure in Christ forever, I still face life’s struggles and find myself temporarily lost at times; sometimes for a day, sometimes longer.
I so often get lost in my pride and turn my back completely on God. I believe that I have everything under control and that all the decisions are up to me; that the strengths inside of me are because of my design and hard work. Until, sooner or later, I find myself empty of joy and satisfaction, realizing that I’ve actually never had control at all.
Then l call out His name and ask Him to forgive me. I tell Him that I know He is the one who created me and every good thing in me is from Him. All good things come from Him. And He carries me back.
Lost has too many names to mention.
Whatever reason for being lost, I know without doubt, that as I follow at this peaceful pace behind the red haze of these tail lights, Jesus is taking a lost sheep home right now, just has He has done for me.
The sky is much darker now and the rain has slowed to a drizzle. The windshield wipers squeak past, clearing my view. But now the truck has signaled and is moving into the right lane. Oddly, I have a sudden sense to move behind him; like it really is Jesus.
At the next exit, he’s gone. But I watch the truck as long as it’s in my view.
And I know this is weird, but I feel a bit lonely and sad. I realize I’m driving slower than the posted speed and the nearest car is at least half a mile away. I gear up the cruise control and have a little chat with “Rachael Ray-calculate”… that’s what I’ve named my nav-system, since she likes to do that so much….”ray-calculate.”
My detour with Jesus didn’t take me off route, but rather has distracted me from an otherwise boring drive. And the concerns and doubts that swirled in my heart and mind at the beginning of this journey, are now somewhat settled and I feel lighter and at peace. I have let go of the worries that burdened me about someone I love dearly who is struggling and lost.
Jesus is on the way.
And He drives an old blue pickup.