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Thursday, 9 August 2012


Yesterday, my wife and I went to the beach - not the lake beach at the site on which we now have a static caravan, but one of the many beaches on the Atlantic coast of France.

We parked our car; gathered together all of the items that we wished to take with us; and set off for an afternoon of sea and sun.  Unfortunately, the pathway to the beach was unmarked and, with dune after dune, one had to be almost there before any blue was seen!   My wife was obviously tired with the walking in the high temperature that we were experiencing, so I suggested that I leave her under a shady tree, with all of our baggage, and go ahead to ascertain how far we still had to travel.  I walked, and walked - but, eventually, there was an amazingly calm Atlantic Ocean stretching in front of me.  I went down to the beach, and checked that this was the area for which we had been heading; then I returned to the dunes and the forest.

It didn't take me too long to discover that, while I had found the beach, I had lost my wife!  Every tree looked the same as every other tree.  Paths had been trodden all over the place.  Every little landmark that I recalled seemed to be duplicated over and over again.  I walked for hours (well, two hours), shouting out her name, praying, praying, shouting out her name.  I managed to get back to the end of the parking area, and followed the route that we had originally taken.  I found the spot at which I had left her, with a sign that it was the correct place - but she, and all of our belongings, had disappeared!!  The shouting, and the praying, became increasingly intense.  I was getting tired; I didn't have any water; I didn't have the keys to the car to get some (I knew that my wife had an adequate supply!).  I went back to the beach, just in case some friendly folk had assisted her to get there.  There was no sign of her.

Feeling quite exhausted, I made my way, again, back to the parking area.  As I trudged up the roadway to where I had parked our car, I saw my wife walking towards me!  She had given up waiting for me, and felt vulnerable as a woman alone in such a deserted place, so had left me her sign, and somehow managed to get back to the car with all of the stuff that I had been carrying.  My relief was beyond description.

Later, as I lay on the beach (with my wife beside me!), I began to think of my experience.  Someone whom I love so much was missing, and I was determined to find her.  I wasn't counting the cost; I ignored my thirst; I forced my weary legs to keep on moving.

Father God has a similar attitude to you and to me.  We are the ones, in this case, who have deliberately wandered away.  Yet He searches for each one of us.  In the Persona (no typo - listen to my message on The Trinity, at of the Son, He suffered in ways that neither you nor I can ever begin to even imagine.  And He did it for no other reason than His eternal love for each one of us.

It is many years since I responded to that love, and made my way towards Him.  If you have never done so, I encourage you to listen to His voice, calling out your name; and to respond with the love and commitment of your own heart.

Jesus said, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." (Matthew 18:12-14)

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