This morning I pulled up at an intersection behind a car with a rear bumper which was completely covered in stickers. The subject of the stickers ranged from expressing support of a local elementary school, all the way to presidential candidates - and quite a few subjects in between. As I sat there trying to read them all before the traffic light changed, I noticed one that was partially covered up by a declaration of support for the Dallas Cowboys. The semi-hidden sticker said, “I Found JESUS - Have YOU?”.
Having been raised in the church, it’s a phrase I’m familiar with, because it’s one that many Christians often use. But as I read it on the back of that car this morning I found myself thinking, “That not exactly true.” Here’s what I mean - I think that when we say that we’ve “found God”, what we really mean is that there was a point in our lives when we discovered there's a God who loves us. So while we might have felt like we “found” Him, the truth is, we didn't - He found us. God was not lost, we were.
So if you're a believer today, it's because God sought you out. He looked for you, and He found you. Jesus describes this beautifully in Matthew 18:12, when He says, “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?” That's what God does - He searches for the lost sheep.
But the story doesn’t end with Him just finding us. After He has us, God then offers us His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And He does all of that while we’re still living in sin. Romans 5:8 makes this clear, as the Apostle Paul tells us, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” That’s why the challenge for us is not finding God, it’s simply accepting what He’s already offering us. God does all the work - we simply need to accept what He’s already done for us.
Some people haven’t understood or accepted this gift yet. Others of us have accepted it already, but still struggle with sin. Each and every day, we need to return to God, confess that we got lost, and then accept His forgiveness. So today, let's thank God for finding us. And then let's ask Him to help us accept the work His Son did for us on the cross - whether it’s a new acceptance of the gift, or a renewing of what we’ve already believed and accepted. Then we can move forward in our lives confident that we no longer have to live in darkness, or in the confusion and worry and isolation that it brings with it. Instead, we can live with the confident faith and hope of those who were lost, but have now been found.