“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 (NLT)
Emma surveyed the mess on her bedroom floor. Her best friend’s family had moved several states away last week and Emma had put her new phone number in a safe place. At least that’s what she thought. But now she couldn’t find it. She had emptied every drawer and even moved all the shoes from the bottom of the closet. She had checked every pocket of every garment she owned. She had dumped her backpack and opened every zipper. It just wasn’t there.
Maybe it was someplace else in the house. Maybe it fell out of her pocket somewhere. Emma decided to search the living room cushions. Grandma was sitting there with her Bible, the soft glow of the table lamp falling on her deeply veined fingers. There was always something comforting about seeing Grandma with her Bible. Somehow Emma felt safe and protected when Grandma had that Bible open. But she thought maybe, just maybe, that piece of paper with the phone number had slipped behind the cushions. She reluctantly asked Grandma to move so she could search.
When that search proved fruitless, Emma sat down on the cushions with her head in her hands. Grandma asked why she was so glum and Emma told her about losing the piece of paper with her friend’s phone number on it. “Did you pray about it?” Grandma asked.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 (NLT)
Emma couldn’t help smiling. Grandma was always praying about something. Funny thing was, those prayers were usually answered. Lately Grandma had been praying for Emma’s dad. She had been praying for him to give his heart to Jesus and come home to their family. She had often asked Emma to join her and, although she loved her grandma and believed in God, Emma knew there was no way to change her dad. He had made his decision and he was one who always followed through on things. He seldom changed his mind. The situation was just too far gone and too hard. Grandma had often reminded Emma, “Nothing is too hard for God.”
“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27 (NLT)
By the time she got her room put back together, it was time for bed. Emma pulled the covers up to her chin and laid there staring at the ceiling. She tried to retrace every step she had taken that day. Maybe that would help her find the phone number. But she didn’t come up with any place that she hadn’t looked. With a heavy sigh, Emma turned over to her favorite sleeping position and shoved her hands beneath her pillow. She heard a faint crackling sound and bolted upright. Could it be? She quickly ran her hand between the pillow and the case and there it was. The paper with the phone number on it. Now Emma remembered tucking it in there last night for safekeeping.
With a loud whoop, she danced around the room with the paper in her hand. From the living room, Grandma heard the noise and knew that another of her prayers had been answered. She knocked lightly on Emma’s door and asked what all the noise was about.
“I found the phone number, Grandma!” Emma shouted. “It was tucked in my pillowcase. I remember putting it there last night.”
“I knew you’d find it,” Grandma smiled. “I prayed about it.”
Emma gave Grandma a big hug and told her thank you for praying. Grandma just smiled and shook her head. If that girl made that big a fuss about finding a lost piece of paper, can you imagine the rejoicing when the Lord found her daddy and brought him home?
The next morning as Emma came in the kitchen for breakfast, she saw her mom and Grandma sitting at the table, hands clasped and heads bowed. She knew they were praying for Dad. This morning, Emma joined them.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” Luke 15:4-7 (NLT)
A Stander in Nebraska