“Thus, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner changing his heart.” (Luke 15:10)
A woman through hard work saves some money. Not a great fortune, but enough to give her some security in hard times.
One day she opens her purse, and something is wrong. She counts her money. A large bill is gone!
She goes through her whole house, first looking in the most likely places, and then more slowly, room by room, searching in every crack and corner. For a long time she cannot find it, and then finally there it is, the money she lost!
She is so relieved and so overjoyed that she goes out into her front yard and tells her neighbour all about it. Then she calls her mother, her sister, her friends, and tells them all about it. It was lost, and now it’s found!
God has lost something that is unspeakably precious to him. He searches for it doggedly, ceaselessly until it is found.
What is lost? We are lost.
Lost in complicated thinking. Lost in doing only what is easy. Lost in not knowing and not finding out. Lost in knowingly doing what is wrong. Lost in rage, fear, and resentment. Lost in stories that are not true, or only partly true. Lost in thoughts we can’t get rid of. Lost in inconsistency. Lost in shame. Lost in self-satisfaction.
Lost in trying to hold onto anything except the one solid thing a person can hold onto, namely the living God.
It is our nature to be simple, to do what is right because it is right.
And having lost this simplicity, we are lost both to ourselves and to God.
But when we do what is right—not because we are right, but because it is right—our primordial simplicity is recovered. God has found us.
And his angels jump around in their joy.