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What Is God Saying to You?

Luke 15

Are you familiar with Luke chapter 15? The lost sheep. The lost coin. The prodigal son and his father . . . . You’ve no doubt heard many sermons on these passages (with as many different interpretations and lessons!). Voices of authority have influenced you–books, teachers, ministers–and perhaps your own studies have led to your own theological interpretation of the stories.

You might even be able to write a paper on this chapter and explain it from your theological learning. But theology alone can be cold . . . formal . . . pharisaical. Theology can leave onion-skin pages with underlinings and highlights, but without life, without relevance, without relationship.

What does it mean to “meditate” on the Word of God? Let’s try something. Let’s center in on these three things and see what we come up with.

The little lamb. We don’t know what he was doing, but it certainly wasn’t important to him to stay near the shepherd. Did he run off? Did he wander away? Whatever the case, he undoubtedly was driven by one impulse: to take care of his own needs, his way. . . finding the grassiest knoll, the most tender shoots, the coolest brook–all by himself–until he’s good and lost. And all the while the shepherd pursues. He stops and listens. He calls. Can you see him shake his head? What a foolish lamb. It seems he’s just got to rebel. Independent little creature! Trying to run his life his way, do things his way, lead himself to the greenest pastures. How many times is it now that I’ve found him, barely hanging on?

But the sheep stubbornly refuses to wait, or turn, or run to his master–unless something happens that he realizes just might be his undoing. He may be bloody, broken, bruised, hungry, hurting, dirty, or smelly, but when the shepherd finds him, he will pick him up and tenderly carry him home.

Can you “play sheep” and feel the warmth of the Shepherd’s cloak around you? Can you relax and let Him carry you? Would you like to nestle your head down in the crook of His arm? Do you want to tell Him how sorry you are that you cause Him such distress? Would you like to thank Him for His patience with you? (Draw a picture in your mind of that. Put yourself in the place of the sheep and of the shepherd. What thought come to you?)

* * *

The coin doesn’t wander or run away. It’s just well-hidden. It’s deep in a dark crack. It’s in a far corner. In an inaccessible place.

But to the owner, that coin is so precious that she gives herself over to searching for it diligently and tirelessly, with the anticipation of finding it and securing it once again with her other valuables. It is of great importance to her.

The coin, on the other hand, has no idea of its lost condition. It doesn’t feel or think. It just doesn’t care, and it doesn’t realize how much the woman cares. (Draw a picture of the search in your mind. Put yourself in her place. She’s so anxious that the coin be found–salvaged. What does the scene look like from where you’re sitting?)

* * *

The son has a free will and the ability to reason. He also has the ability to hurt those who love him. Unlike the shepherd and his sheep or the widow and her coin, the father doesn’t search for his son. He just keeps a vigil–a lonely vigil–waiting for the son to decide to come home. Don’t you suppose the father would have gone to his son at a moment’s notice if he had cried out for help? He was listening. Alert to every sound. If the old dog started barking, he stepped to the door and cocked his head. He’s got to be coming . . . old Rover can smell him! The slightest sound in the darkest night caused him to quit breathing and strain his ears to listen. What was that? Is he home? Just like the shepherd listened for the feeble cry of His lost lamb. And no matter how dirty or smelly or bloody and bruised the boy was, the father would have held him tenderly and carried him home.

The son was certainly as precious as the coin, but the finding-and-taking routine won’t work for a son with a mind and will of his own. True, the father would have gone to any inaccessible place to find him, to reach him. Oh, the grief . . . the lost hours that could have been filled with camaraderie, with shared dreams and goals. But a love such as this must sometimes wait. . . . (Can you see it? Feel it. Don’t let the black-and-white words camouflage the emotions that are threaded through the days, the hours, the weeks and months of separation. Are you waiting for someone’s love? Is Someone waiting for yours?)

* * *

This is what it means to meditate on the Word of God, allowing your imagination to putflesh and blood, bone and thought between the rows of black print on white paper. This is how we come to know Him. This is how we come to understand the depth of our Father’s love for us.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.