Mechanics of any level, whether they are amateur home tinkerers or professionals, know the challenge of gripping bolts with fingers covered with oil. It is especially challenging when a job is almost done, and everything is being put back together. Inevitably there is a small bolt that must be installed in a cramped and dark part of the engine compartment. Leaning over the grill, the mechanic reaches into the dark feeling with his fingers where the bolt is to be placed. Teeth are clenched, and brow is furrowed with effort.
Then, the bolt slips from his fingers. Words are muttered. He listens intently as he hears it bouncing off various engine components. The hope is that it makes it all the way through and lands on the shop floor and doesn’t get hung up in some nook or cranny in the engine. With a satisfying “clunk,” he hears it hit the concrete of the shop floor. He drops to his hands and knees, looking (hoping!) it has settled on the floor.
If you’ve had this happen to you before you know exactly where that bolt is: It has bounced 30 feet in some random direction. Not only that, but it has also managed to land under a bench that cannot be moved. Also, it is far enough under that bench that it cannot be reached. We all know that this mechanic will be attaching a magnet to the end of a dowel rod to retrieve that elusive bolt at some point. He prays it isn’t aluminum.
When he finally has it back in his hands, he raises his arms in delight and celebrates as though he has just scored the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl. He runs into the house and shouts, “Honey! Kids! I found it!” Of course, they only look up briefly from their iPhones, wondering why dad is so excited. They quickly go back to their screens.
Jesus tells the story of a woman who lost a silver coin in Luke 15:8-10. After she finds the coin, she calls on her neighbors to join her in celebrating it has been found. The bitterness of loss is replaced with the joy of reunion.
Jesus tells this story to help us understand what God is like. So many of us Christians, have bought into the lie that God is super annoyed with us. To be in Christ by faith is to be found. To be found is to be celebrated by God Himself!
Someone reading this is thinking, “You don’t understand, I have sin I struggle with – God doesn’t celebrate me!” The same kind of thinking happened to people in the Bible.
In Nehemiah 8, the people gathered to be taught the Scripture. It was a unique time because they had just returned from captivity in Babylon that was caused by their rebellion against God. Now, hearing the Scripture, they realized how bad their sin truly was, and they began to mourn. Listen to what their leaders said to them in Nehemiah 8:9-10, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep…Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
They had been lost (in Babylon), and now they where found (back in the land of promise). Even with their rebellion right in front of them, they were called to celebrate because of “the joy of the Lord!” God was full of joy to have His people back home.
The same is true for each of us in Jesus. Yes, God knows all the ways we fall short. However, the Bible makes it abundantly clear His disposition toward us in Jesus: He celebrates that we are found!
Let’s turn a deaf ear to the lies of the enemy. Instead, let’s listen to the truth from God in His word – He celebrates finding us. Let’s join Him in the celebration because “the joy of the Lord is our strength!”
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Luke 15:1-32.
See you Sunday,