Forest Lake Talks

The Third Week of Lent – Letting Go of Perfectionism and Holding on to God’s Care

March 15, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor

MATTHEW 18:12-14

Lost. Confused. Disoriented. Afraid. Alone. Even with our smartphone giving us turn-by-turn directions, the parable of the lost sheep still resonates. All of us, at some point or another, know the anxiety of being vulnerable and directionless. My ability to get lost is legendary. I force myself to make a mental note of whether I need to go right or left when I exit my hotel room. I take a picture with my phone of where my car is located in parking garages. One of my great and real fears is getting lost. My friends
with keen senses of direction think me neurotic and alarmist when I voice my anxiety about driving somewhere new or meeting them in an unfamiliar place. I relate to the lost sheep, somehow separated from the flock. I wonder if that lamb’s cellphone went dead while on the way back to the pasture, rendering him helpless and wondering how long it would take before the others noticed his absence.

We can be sure that Jesus notices when we’ve wandered or run away, when we’ve
gotten turned around or been left behind. Jesus never fails to notice our vulnerability,
our deepest fears, our lostness. Jesus notices and cares and comes to find us. When
we wonder if the flock has simply moved on without us, we can be assured that the
Shepherd never gives up on us. No matter how far away we are, no matter how long
we’ve been gone, he keeps looking for us until he brings us safely home.

Good Shepherd, you never fail to notice when we are missing fro m the flock. You value us so much that you will leave the ninety-nine in order to seek us out and bring us home. When we are afraid or anxious, unsure where we are or where to go, you come to us, care for us, assure us we are not alone. Amen.

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