I have a Facebook friend in Colorado, another Christian writer I’ve met with a number of times over the years at various Christian publishing events. For the past few years she’s been writing about her oldest son, Zach, who is a drug addict.
He’s had periods of being clean, but they haven’t lasted. Last summer he nearly died from a drug overdose — his third overdose in less than a year — and spent several days in ICU on a respirator, suffering seizures.
To put it mildly, my friend has gone through hell and back, years of dreading yet praying for the phone to ring with news either from her son or about him.
For years I’ve followed this friend as she’s gone and continues to go from chaos to chaos, with short times of hope and reprieve in between. When Zach is doing well, she’s doing well. When he isn’t, then she alternates moment by moment between trusting God and utter panic. Recently, my friend hadn’t heard from her son in a while, which could be good news or not good. It’s the not knowing that makes a mom insane with worry and fear.
The other day she posted the following on her Facebook page:
“Still no word from Zach. As I prayed, ‘Lord, he is so lost. Please find him!’ I heard God saying to me, ‘Zach is not lost. I know exactly where he is. I’ve got him. But do you know who IS lost, my child? You are.
“‘You are lost in your mind, a mother sheep mentally roving hills and city streets, searching for a son whom I have already found. You need to let me find YOU now. Let me pick you up, mend your heart and take you back home.’”
She wrote about the gospel story Jesus told about the Good Shepherd who left the 99 sheep in his flock to seek and save the one lost lamb, and that he “didn’t take other sheep with him as a sidekick or to help him out.”
She said God’s job is tending his flock, and our job, as his flock, is to “live as found ones,” lying down in green pastures, being led beside quiet, still waters so our souls can be refreshed and restored.
“Our job is to be healthy and happy at home so we can welcome the lost one with joy when the Shepherd walks through the gate with the tired lamb in his arms,” she wrote.
Later that day she added:
“Long story, of which I only know a bit: Zach was beaten and out of it for a number of days. But he is alive and appears he is going to be OK now. He called from a borrowed phone.
“I would’ve slept OK tonight even if he had not called, because I am at such a place of deep surrender and trust. But of course, I will sleep much more peacefully and deeply now.
“This doesn’t mean that tomorrow all will be OK, circumstantially. And maybe this is the bigger lesson: I do not know the future, but I know the One who holds my hand and the hands of my children and grandchildren into all my tomorrows. And that has to be enough or I will miss all the beauty of my todays. Love and relief and hugs to you all!”
Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, and that’s who he is. He’s the one who feeds them, guides them along paths of righteousness, comforts and protects them with his rod and his staff, the one who lays down his life for them. He is the Shepherd who searches and seeks persistently, tirelessly, until he finds and rescues his lost sheep and brings them back to the safety of his flock — and we are all, at times, lost sheep needing to be found.
The good news is this: The Good Shepherd always seeks, always finds and always saves all who belong to him. Not one lamb entrusted to his care is ever, ever lost. Love and relief and hugs to us all!
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow her on Twitter at @nancykchronicle.