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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Missing

March 11th, 2013

I lost my lunchbox today.

Instead of putting it in the cab of the truck I put it in the bed. When I looked for it later at the job site, it was gone.

I could do without the sandwich and I can drink water from a hose. The lunchbox was $9 at Wal-Mart.

No biggie.

Except my keys were in there.

Biggie.

My mind raced. When did I last see it? Did it fly out as we were driving down the road? Did someone lift it when we stopped for a breakfast burrito? If someone lifted it they’ve got my house keys. And car keys. All they have to do is figure out what I drive and where I live and…

My keys are missing. I’ve got to find them.

It’s a sick feeling isn’t it? When something you need or something you love goes missing?

For two and a half years I worked at the University of Phoenix-Online as an advisor in the Master of Education program. I was on the phone all day talking with teachers from coast to coast seeking to earn their masters degree. Inevitably I heard many answering machine messages. Most were incredibly boring and predictable. A few were creative and funny. Yet in the literally tens of thousands of messages I heard, there was one most poignant. It was so surprising and so moving that I called the number back to write down exactly what it said.

The voice was measured and sad. Full of angst and longing, as though it had been hoping beyond hope for a very long time.

“Antony, know that we love you and we miss you. We can see the day that you come back home to us. Please be safe. Take care of yourself. Know that Daddy waits to give you hugs and kisses. We miss you very much.”

Beep.

I didn’t leave a message. I just sat in my chair, a bit stunned, trying to imagine a father so desperate for his son to return home that he would do anything and everything, including leaving a message on the answering machine just in case he called when there was no one to answer the phone. I found myself wondering what made Antony leave. I wondered how Antony’s father could function day in and day out, not knowing where his son was or if he was safe. And I found myself praying that there would be a reunion sooner than later.

The Bible says that “all we like sheep have gone astray”. Which is to say all of us at one time or another go missing. Sometimes we wander off. Sometimes we go hide. Sometimes we take the wrong path and get lost. Sometimes we run full away.

For the missing one, the questions are simple. Will someone look for me? And if they do, will they find me?

God looks for lost people. In fact, the Jewish rabbis reluctantly admitted that the one new thing Jesus taught about God is that He actively searches for lost people. God is the Good Shepherd. He goes after His lost sheep with a relentless love.

If you’ve wandered off, come home. If you’re hiding from life and from God, come home. If you’ve run full away for whatever reason, come home. And if you’re lost, know that God understands what you’re going through. He will never stop loving you. Or stop looking for you. He’s relentless like that.

I didn’t have to look for my lunchbox. Some kind person found it and turned it in at the gate to the lake. Everything was there, including my keys. I only had to wait and worry and wonder for about 5 hours.

Antony’s Dad may still be waiting and worrying and wondering. I hope not. But if he is, he will be there with hugs and kisses for Antony when he comes home.

He and God have that in common.

They both wait with open arms.

“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! ring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again – he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:20-24

Todd A. Thompson – ASliceOfLifeToGo.com