Monday, July 26, 2010

Leaving the 99

7:02 p.m. Today's project was to make an all-day trek to come alongside a hurting family member. I could have pretty much relaxed and thought, "well, most of them are all right, and I don't have the gas money anyway." But the Lord compelled me to go!

Even before Steve and I got up early, and I thought about how to pay for a tankful of gas, the Lord popped an idea into my head. A debit card whose balance I thought was too small had enough on it to fill the Jeep's tank! We went through the house collecing all of the "silver" coins from various coin caches, and had them counted out (reason being that it won't be until tomorrow that Steve's disability check is deposited!) but, praise the Lord, we didn't have to use them. So early this morning I could have quoted Psalm 113:2, "From the rising of the sun to its going down, the LORD's name is to be praised."

There was a test for us right away in our jubilation. A derelict-appearing man in a small, white, beat-up car called out to us from the other side of the gas lane, asking for gas money. At first I said, "we barely got some ourselves," when I remembered the coins we had bagged up. I asked Steve to take a handful of quarters over to him, and then found some more to give, and the man was very grateful. Turned out that when he got out to receive the coins, I saw that he had a very crippled leg.

As we pulled away to begin our trip, I burst into loud, sobbing tears of gratitude; really, I shouldn't have been driving. Gratitude indeed for the gas we needed, but gratitude that we hadn't failed the test! We had been delivered; God called us to help deliver someone else from dire straits right afterwards.

"There's always somone worse off," I sobbed. The possible outcomes for our family member loomed before us as probably dreadful; the drive would be long, and we weren't able to be there for the others at home. Lots of pent-up emotions and prayers came to the fore! But on we went.

Our presence was appreciated, if only acknowledged in a limited way; the individual's plight is bad, no other way to state it. We will see how things go in the next 6 weeeks, but I am so glad to have listened to the Lord's voice! Ponder the rhetorical question Jesus asks in Matthew 18:12:

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

Of course he does!

Jesus continues with the hoped-for answer to our prayers, v. 13:

And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

And this is how much God loves us, His very own sheep, v. 14:

Even so, it is not the will of your Father that is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

How He loves us!

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