God never loses you

Crowds shuffled by as my daughter and I sat and waited for the rest of our family to return from a ride at Silver Dollar City. Lauren finished her snack, so I sent her the 10 steps across the path to throw away her trash. She jumped down, to do what I asked.

My eyes never left her as she skipped across, threw her trash right in the pocket, and turned to skip back.

Then, she hesitated. Her eyes focused on the crowd, and though I could see her, she couldn’t see me. Panic flashed across her face and her eyes darted back and forth trying to find me, and I got up to go to her. As I moved she saw me, ran back and gave me a big hug of relief.

I squeezed her extra tight. “Did you not know where I was?”

She shook her head, and snuggled in for a tighter hug.

I gently reassured her. “You may have lost me, but I never lost you!”

The same is true of our loving Heavenly Father. He tells us in Galatians 3:26 that we are God’s children through faith in Jesus. Just as a parent attends to his child, God watches over us because He loves us. He knows us, He knows where we are, and He cares about the situations we find ourselves in today. We may feel utterly lost, frustrated, off-balance and unsure. But God sees us. We are not forgotten. He didn’t leave us.

Despite our feelings and even sight-lines, God never loses us. Psalm 121:8 says, “The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” There may even be times that we believe God is leading us to step out in faith on mission, and suddenly we turn and can’t find our bearings. Look toward heaven and cry out to Him. We can find peace when our sight fails us by standing firmly on God’s always-kept promises.

For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.
– Deuteronomy 31:6b

Me and my girl, together

Me and my girl, together

My Gospel

How does the Gospel affect your life? Is it the defining centerpiece of your life? Is it your very life?

Paul writes an interesting phrase in his last letter to Timothy describing the Gospel:

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel.
– 2 Timothy 2:8

Why did Paul refer to the Gospel as “my gospel”? He didn’t write that story. Paul wasn’t the originator of the Gospel. The words seem strange, almost sacrilegious. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the gospel of Paul.

Note the start of the verse: keep your attention on Jesus Christ. Paul’s aim in training Timothy in the faith wasn’t to exalt himself, it was to lift up Jesus. Paul called the Gospel his because it was personal to him. The Gospel didn’t just detail historical events, it showcased the grace poured out for Paul, and for the world. The Gospel Himself met Paul personally on the road to Damascus and completely transformed his gaze, his purpose and his future. The Gospel, Jesus Christ, was now his life. Jesus changed him. This wasn’t only the disciples’ Gospel, or the early church’s Gospel, this was his Gospel.

Paul was a picture of the Gospel.

We need to hear that, and we need to own that.

If the Gospel is merely words preached on a Sunday morning, we’ve missed it. If the Gospel is a set of morals to live by, we’ve missed it. If the Gospel works for us while we’re at church, but is optional at work, we’ve missed it. If I embrace the Gospel but still maintain my rights or remain in charge of my life, I’ve missed it.

The Gospel becomes mine when Jesus is my life. I cannot live without the reality of my resurrected Lord. His truth and His grace should dictate my comings and goings.

My life must speak aloud, in word and action, of Jesus the One and Only.

And even when I fail and my faith falters, Jesus doesn’t. When God looks at each of us, He sees a person for whom He sent His Son to die. He sees someone He lovingly made to have a personal relationship with Him, a person He longs to accept His salvation. Jesus loves us, and willingly gave up everything to make a way for us all, whether or not we accept His gift of grace.

My life is a picture of the Gospel. So is yours.