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Gone Missing

by Donald Geddes — last modified Dec 13, 2014 08:50 PM
In Australia someone is reported missing every 18 minutes by someone who cares.

by Donald Geddes

Gone MissingEvery year an average of 6,500 people are reported missing in Queensland. Almost all of these are found but 20 completely disappear. Some of these missing persons have been gone for a number of years. What has happened to them?

Many of us have experienced the panic when toddlers have been lost in a crowd or shopping centre, or children have wandered away at the Ekka, or teenagers have cleared out in rebellion, or elderly parents have wandered off. We graphically remember the frantic search that results and the immeasurable relief when the lost has been found.

Perhaps you know of a case where an adult has deliberately disappeared with the intention of escaping domestic or financial problems and starting a new life. If it is a loved one, they leave behind a permanent aching heart and the unanswered question “Are they still alive?”

Many people in this situation think no one cares; no one loves them. But they are wrong! Someone always cares because God cares.

Jesus made this clear in Matt. 18:13-14 when he told the Parable of the Lost Sheep. The shepherd goes searching for the one lost sheep and if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

What about all those who once attended this church and have wandered away and are now lost not attending any church? Did we care? Did we go after them like the owner of the lost sheep? Did we grieve over the fact they were lost in sin? Are we still praying for them?

Do they know that the Lord loves them with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)? Do they realize He cares for them and grieves over them? Do they understand God cared enough for the lost to send His own Son into the world to die for lost sinners? As Jesus told His disciples in Luke 16:10: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

We would not want to incur the criticism Ezekiel conveyed to the people of his day: My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. Ezek. 34:6.

There is no joy being lost in the wilderness. There is only the fearful prospect of an agonizing death. Being spiritually lost is worse because it brings the terrible prospect of being eternally lost in Hell.

No wonder Jesus had such compassion on those he saw as being lost. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matt. 9:36. Just as the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, God longs to see the lost return home. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 16:20) That is the picture of God’s joy when the lost return home.