Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like continues to get to me:
The other day at Barnes & Noble, my 6-year old daughter L.E. disappeared.
One moment she was sitting in a chair and the next she was gone. It was only for a few seconds but those were some adrenalin drunk seconds. I jumped up and quickly looked down a few aisles until I found her ponytailed head in the science section.
As a dad, that’s a terrifying moment and there is only one word to describe that feeling:
L.E. was lost and then she was found. I was happy. She was safe, the world returned to right.
Contrast that moment with the time I shoplifted. On my way to a church leader meeting in the ninth grade, a friend and I decided to liberate some basketball cards from a department store. We stuffed them inside a big league chew bubble gum packet, which was perhaps the only time that gum has let me down. Security caught everything on video and shortly we were picked up by the police. At the station, an officer called my dad to come pick me up. There is only one word to describe that feeling:
I was caught that day breaking the law, making a mess of my life and eventually thrown into the back of a police car.
I tell those two stories because I think reflect the heart of one of the most devastating confusions in all of faith. I think more people walk away from faith, refuse to believe in the first place and avoid all things Christ, because of those two words:
Found and Caught.
Sometimes, when we’ve done something we are ashamed of, when we’ve made a mistake or fallen or broken something, we fear getting caught. But what if instead we were found? What if instead of being caught, we were found by God?
The answer to that question is in Luke 15 and it’s one of my favorite chunks of Bible. Put simply, it’s the story of the prodigal son. After squandering his fortune on wild living, the son returns home to a father he essentially wished dead in a very public manner. He has blown it. Life is ruined. When you tell this story in some cultures they are shocked the son is not executed on the spot for his disobedience. After all, he has been caught.
Or has he?
The older brother certainly believed so when he angrily yelled at the father about the return of his younger brother. What does the father say in response?
“We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
I don’t know what’s going on with you right now. I don’t know if you’re tangled up in a mess or trying to put enough days on the calendar until you can come back to God, or trying a million things to make yourself feel clean and avoid quiet moments in the day because that’s when the guilt gets loud, but here’s the truth.
You are found. Not caught.
We’ve got a God who loves to find us. A God who throws parties when he finds us. A God who is always trying to find you.
You are found.
You are found
You are found.