24th February 2013

Never Lost

“…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:31-32 NIV (UK)

It’s one of our worst nightmares. You sit down to work at your computer, but you can’t find your file. You are sure you saved it—but where? Frantically you look through your directories, but the file has disappeared.

Hoping against hope you call in a computer expert. They sit down at your machine, and begin to key in commands. The screen starts showing information you have never seen before as they probe deeper and deeper into the memory. And finally they look up and say, “I have good news for you.” And, to your intense relief, your lost file is once more displayed. It wasn’t lost—it had only been hiding away somewhere in cyber space.

It is actually quite hard totally to eliminate a file from your computer. Technically, files that are “lost” don’t get erased; they’re only unlinked. They are still stored somewhere until something else is written over them. Removing a file so that it can never be retrieved again usually requires some conscious effort and deliberate action from a specialised program.

Maybe there’s an even worse nightmare than fearing that we’ve lost an important file in our computer—the fear that maybe God has stopped loving us because of our continued sins.

But there’s good news. We can rest assured that such a thing will never happen. Regardless of how we might feel, or what we might fear, God never stops loving us. You will never fall through the cracks, or get swept aside in God’s heart.

In Luke 15 Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son to reassure us of God’s unfailing love. Even after the selfish son had taken his inheritance and squandered it in sin, his father never stopped loving him. He longed for the day that his son would come home and, when the wretched young man finally did, hoping he might only be treated as a hired servant, he found that his father immediately embraced him in love and honoured him as his beloved son.

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time” (Luke 15:20-24, The Message).

Jesus wanted us to know that God feels that same way about us. We might think we’re lost to God, but the truth is that we never are. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:39, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Loving father, we can only praise and bless you for the way you continue to love us through thick and thin. No matter how we have behaved, how we have sinned against you, you continue to love us. Let that love melt our stony hearts, so that we will turn back to you and come home. We have free choice; may we make that free choice to return to you. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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