Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lost Glove -- Lost Sheep

I have a bad habit of putting my gloves in my lap after the car warms. When I get out of the car, the gloves drop onto the ground unnoticed. Sometimes I'm fortunate to find them on the ground by my car when I return to it. Other times, not so lucky --

I lost a pair of leather gloves in Milwaukee at an NCTE convention. My sister had driven from Chicago to have dinner with me and my friends, and upon returning to the hotel, she dropped us off at the door. In a hurry to say our goodbyes, I did not miss my gloves until the next morning.

Another time Jim dropped me off at home before going on to an appointment. When he returned, the car lights illuminated one glove. I was so distressed about the missing glove --black leather with fur trim, a Christmas gift from a student who had no idea I had just lost a pair --that Jim retraced his drive and found it in the gutter of a nearby street. Apparently, it had landed on his Explorer's running board and fell off when he turned the corner. It was wet and cold, but I tenderly "nursed" it back to its original condition, and I still have the pair.

This week I lost another leather glove while out running errands. (I never lose the Big Lots-three-pair-for-$1 kind!) It was 7:00 p.m. when I noticed. What a disappointment, especially since I've been remembering to lay the gloves in the passenger seat or to put them back on before I get out of the car.

I had been all over the city -- Brookside on Kansas City's southside and several places closer to home. Tired and late in getting to my parents' house, I decided to take the time to return to my parking spots at a gas station, the church, and my chiropractor's office. No glove! A trip to Brookside was out of the question, so I resigned myself to the fact that I was gloveless once again. Then as I turned my car to head out of the last lot, my eye fell upon my missing glove. Instead of falling from my lap, it had fallen from my pocket when I retrieved my car keys upon leaving the office. I was soooo happy -- so relieved!

I thought of this glove while reading Matthew 18:12-14. Jesus, talking about how precious children are to God, speaks of a sheperd who will leave ninety-nine sheep on a hill to seek one lost sheep. If he finds it, "he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off."

As happy as I was to find that glove, God's happiness in having a person come to Him through the love of His Son is infinitely greater than my delight. I'm grateful that He uses the common things of life to remind me of His unending compassion.

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