Thursday, January 28, 2016

Searching for the Stray - Martin Wiles

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? Matthew 18:12 NLT

Her name was Mow Mow, and she was a stray. 

Where Mow Mow strayed to was the crumbling house nestled next door to the house my wife and I were renting. As we sat on our front porch eating lunch, we heard her meowing. I suppose the aroma of the fried chicken attracted her. My wife—a cat lover, threw her a few pieces of chicken. Though she was skittish, a few pieces of chicken soon warmed her up to us. Before long, she strayed over to our front porch. Since she meowed continuously, her name was easy to come by: Mow Mow. Then one morning as I opened the front door she didn’t greet me as she always had. There were signs of a scuffle. Perhaps a dog. Mow Mow was nowhere to be found. We searched but never found her. 

Like the shepherd who leaves the rest of the flock to search for the one stray, God is in the business of searching. While the shepherd, like us, might not always locate the stray, God always finds the person He’s looking for. 

I’ve been a stray on a number of occasions. I was a stray before my father told me how much God loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me. God found me. I became a stray again around the age of fourteen when I strayed into territories believers shouldn’t tread on. 

God searched for me by pricking my conscience. He found me when I finally decided to listen and let Him take me back to the flock. And there have been times when it wasn’t sin that caused me to turn into a stray. Financial meltdowns, broken relationships, gossip, rebellious children, and death accomplished the same. But God was just as faithful to search for me when such times stole my time and focus. 

Regardless of why you stray, God is forever faithful to search for you and bring you back to the safety of the flock. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for searching for us and returning us to Your loving care when we stray. 

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