The 1 and The 99 | #MyFridayStory №182
Sometimes you’re in the group of “1” other times, you’re in the “99” group.
From a young age, I heard the parable of the shepherd and his lost sheep. I had a vivid image of the shepherd as he turned to have one last look at the flock he had to leave behind. All 99 huddled together on a grassy hill out in the open, so they can spot danger. He crossed meadows, over fences and rocky outcrops, and through deep valleys, calling out as he searched.
The young me could sense the angst of the shepherd having to leave behind the many in pursuit of saving the one. My naïve mind identified with the group left behind-the “safe” group. To me, the one that had gone astray was the wayward black sheep of the flock. Delinquent and up to no good, a bad sheep. “ We’re all okay over here in the group of 99 good, obedient sheep”, we would say smugly. “At least we’re not like that lost soul out there in the wilderness, the poor sucker.”
I never gave much thought to the lost “one” for most of my childhood and into my young adult life. Possibly because I hadn’t experienced being “ lost in the wilderness” until later. It could be the time that has elapsed and my fading memory, but the dangers and trials I experienced in my privileged, safe upbringing aren’t worth mentioning. My Parents raised us four kids in relative luxury, comfort and safety compared to many.
The first time I can remember “going astray” like I saw that black sheep doing, I was in my twenty’s. After my long-time girlfriend broke my heart-sad, I know-I dropped my guard and went on a self-indulgent binge. The partying, drinking, gambling, and sleeping with girls went on for some time. My heart was dark-I could feel the evil inside me.
I recall knowing I’m on the wrong path but finding it sickly exciting.
I didn’t realise it then, but I was now in the group of “1”. My wayward ways continued until my wise big Brother intervened. He reminded me again that although we sometimes forget God, He never forgets us. My Brother knew the way I had been behaving was not the real me. He’d been watching me from a distance, as I went on my path of destruction. He wisely allowed me first to get lost, else I would not have experienced the amazing grace of His forgiveness.
I’ve had more trips into the wilderness as I traversed the nooks and crannies of my life thus far. I pray I don’t have too many more. It’s not a nice place and the feeling leaves you drained and exhausted. You are a slave to worldly pleasures that distract you from being your best you. The only people you attract are those who can feast on your weaknesses.
We’re either safe in the group of “99” or, we’re the “1” that is lost and needs to be rescued. Throughout life, we oscillate between these. Fortunately, through learning and life experience, we can transform and develop the ability to snap out of the trap when we start to go astray.
This Easter and Passover, may you experience the transformative development and unending grace that comes from God and keeps you safe in His flock.
Have an awesome long-weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on April 2, 2021.