It was a gorgeous woven silver bracelet with a toggle clasp that Bev got me for our anniversary. It felt good on my wrist and looked good with lots of things.
I wore it as an every-day bracelet, and it became an extension of my arm. However, one day after arriving at home, I noticed that it was missing. I knew that I had it on earlier so I was certain that it was gone.
I had a sick, visceral reaction to this realization. Something I cared about was gone. Not in the way that you care about a spouse or a friend. More like a favorite pair of house shoes or a shirt you especially like.
I immediately left to retrace my steps back to where I last looked at it – Starbucks. I combed the grass between my car and the door of the coffee shop. I asked the staff if they had seen it. I did everything but sweep the store.
No bracelet to be found.
Jesus told three stories about lost things. In his stories a woman lost a coin from her marriage dowry. A shepherd lost a sheep from his flock, and a father lost his son, in a spiritual sense.
It’s easy to identify with the losers.
The woman could not get married without her full dowry. Unless she found the coin, she would have to live without a companion or without any of the things which made life purposeful for a woman of that time.
The shepherd loved each of his sheep. The loss of even one was more than he could bear. Which is why he left 99 safe and fenced-in sheep to find the one lost one. Other shepherds would have laughed at him for his recklessness. “You jeopardized the safety of the 99 in order to find ONE lost sheep?”
The third story Jesus told was of a lost boy – a son. The most terrible loss of all. The father thought he would never see his son again. In this case, there was no finding to be done. Like my bracelet, the son was gone.
Sometimes lost things can be found by looking in enough hiding places. At other times, lost things have to reveal themselves, as in the case of the lost son. In all cases the loss causes great pain to the loser. Arguably a son is a greater loss than a coin, but Jesus just wanted us to think about loss itself.
In the pain of loss there is an opportunity to feel God’s pain.
I’ve given up on finding my bracelet. But God doesn’t give up.