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Posts Tagged ‘lost son’

I have some jewellery which I particularly love – a gold bracelet and ring I received as a farewell gift from the church where I was part of the ministry team for some time.  Yes, this jewellery is valuable in monetary terms, but its value lies much more in what it represents – all the love and thoughtfulness on the part of my friends, especially those who so carefully chose the gifts.

I rarely take my ring and bracelet off.  But one night recently, I realised the bracelet was no longer around my wrist. I looked everywhere in the house with no success. And then it dawned on me – I had spent some time pulling weeds in the backyard that afternoon. I had roughly pushed the large pile of rubbish I collected into an old garbage bin and carried it up the steps from our backyard to a spot near the house. Could my bracelet be among all those weeds in that bin?

It was dark and cold outside, so I resigned myself to leaving the search until the following morning and going to bed without knowing if my bracelet would ever be seen again. But my husband had other ideas. Acting on a ‘strong hunch’, he grabbed a torch and headed down our back steps, intent on seeing if the bracelet was lying on the ground somewhere. I tried to dissuade him – I thought it would be a completely fruitless exercise. But he was determined to set my mind at rest.

Within less than a minute, he had returned. I was still yelling out to him not to worry, that I would go through the garbage bin the next day.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to,” he told me calmly – and held out my gold bracelet to me.

Somehow in the dark, with a very weak torch and without even knowing exactly where I had been in yard, he had spotted it lying there on the grass.

At that point, I was forcibly reminded of the story Jesus told about the woman with the lost coin:

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)

Even as I write this, I am looking down at my bracelet, rejoicing that it was indeed found. But Jesus tells us this is absolutely nothing compared with the joy in heaven when one of us is truly found by God. I know how much I love my bracelet and how sorry I would be to lose it – but that’s nothing at all to how much God loves and values us. God is that woman searching for her lost coin. God is that shepherd we read about in the same chapter of Luke, seeking out his lost sheep, just as he is also that loving father who welcomes his lost son home.

 God paid a huge price to buy us back. In love for us, God went to great lengths to find us. And as I look down at my gold bracelet and am reminded of this, I am truly grateful.

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For the past six years, I’ve spent a lot of time writing novels.  I’ve completed five and am part way through my sixth.  So far, my first three have been published and I’m hoping that trend continues, because I truly believe in the power of a good story to impact people’s lives.  Novels can change us and the way we think, as we engage with the main characters and enter into the tragedies and triumphs they experience, agonising along with them over the choices and decisions they make along the way.  Good stories stir our emotions, moving us to reflect on our own lives and our responses to situations, I believe. 

And you know, I reckon I’m in good company in believing this.  After all, even Jesus told stories – quite a few of them, in fact.  I’m sure his stories captured his listeners’ interest, much more than a long lecture such as the other rabbis of the day may have given.  I reckon the crowds remembered his stories too – and that they made them think.  And somehow to me, stories respect the reader or the listener, taking them on a journey and giving them the opportunity to decide where they themselves ‘fit’ in it all.  For example, in Jesus’ story of the lost son of Luke 15, am I perhaps that lost son, selfishly bent on doing my own ‘thing’?  Am I the older brother, unwilling to rejoice that my kid brother has come home at last?  Could I honestly forgive like the father in the story did?  And is that how God forgives me?

Recently someone told me that for her, if a story has been imagined by the writer, then somehow it seems more possible that she could actually do the noble things she sees a character doing or choose the better path he or she might take.  A ‘true’ story might well inspire, but it’s not her story.  Do you agree with her, I wonder?

Or do you agree with the lady who some weeks ago, after hearing I was a published author, asked me sweetly what sort of books I wrote?  When I told her I wrote novels, she looked at me with an almost horrified expression and blurted out:  ‘Novels!  Did you say novels?  You mean … fiction?’

It was obvious I had succeeded in truly shocking her.  Was she perhaps among those who classify fiction as far too frivolous or escapist – as not actually … well, true?  Did she feel it’s all a bit ‘suspect’ because the characters aren’t ‘real’ people and didn’t ‘really’ do the things they are made out to do?

I’ll probably never know.  But I’ll keep on writing novels, because I believe that’s what God has called and gifted me to do.  And I’ll keep on hoping and praying that what I write will not only be enjoyable, but also make a difference in the lives of my readers.  Besides, if Jesus told stories, then that’s good enough for me.

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